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Op-Ed: Politicians Against the Sun

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Politicians influenced by fossil fuel and utility companies are working feverishly to stifle renewable energy growth.In 2015, Nevada lawmakers passed a bill that allowed utilities to charge rooftop solar customers extra. The state’s solar industry was effectively frozen as a result. Within a month three major solar companies, SolarCity, Sunrun and Vivint, announced they were forced to leave the state and terminate hundreds of jobs.“Politicians influenced by fossil fuel and utility companies are working feverishly to stifle renewable energy growth.  This slowdown of rooftop solar growth is problematic, and not just for solar customers and renewable energy companies.”In Florida, customers can only purchase solar power from utilities. And both Indiana and Arizona have decided to roll back net metering policies, which allow solar customers to be compensated for excess energy they produce and send back to the grid.These policy changes seek to drive up the costs of residential solar and make it unaffordable for many Americans.And it’s becoming clear that these tactics are working. Much of the impressive solar power growth in 2017 was led by large-scale and utility installations. Distributed solar – those smaller systems often put on rooftops and parking lots – only grew one percent in the second quarter.This slowdown of rooftop solar growth is problematic, and not just for solar customers and renewable energy companies.Distributed solar has the potential to supply electricity during grid outages resulting from extreme weather or other emergency situations. That means that, on top of reducing our fossil fuel dependence, rooftop solar helps to make our cities more resilient in the face of climate change.It’s also good for the environment – solar energy on existing structures doesn’t create pollution during generation, it requires negligible water use and it doesn’t take up additional land. That makes it better for our planet and the most wildlife-friendly form of energy.And although utility-scale solar growth continues to break records, we can’t take it for granted either. There is pressure building that could stifle these projects as well as smaller distributed ones.The federal government is considering a trade petition that could, if successful, gut the solar industry. And the petition is moving forward under the guise of protecting U.S.-based solar panel manufacturers from international competition. If approved, it could double the price of solar panels in the United States. This price hike would decrease demand, potentially forcing the loss of one-third of domestic solar jobs and dropping installations by two-thirds.Rather than letting polluters drag their feet, we need to make it easier for rooftop solar to flourish. We need politicians to enact solar-friendly policies rather than work to eliminate them.States can enact policies that allow for third-party ownership, which allows companies other than utilities to sell solar panels. States also need to establish strong programs that ensure homeowners and businesses with solar panels get reimbursed for the extra energy they produce. In addition, federal renewable energy tax credits, along with programs to support renewable research and development, can help spur rooftop growth.But most importantly, policymakers need to take into account the true value of solar – including its benefits to people, climate and wildlife – especially as utilities continue their attacks on distributed renewable energy. It’s time to put a price on the social and environmental costs of the outdated monopoly model, which solely considers utility profits. Some states are beginning to do so by requiring utilities to consider the social cost of carbon in their rate-making decisions.More: The troubling ‘tactics’ politicians are using to attack rooftop solar Op-Ed: Politicians Against the Sunlast_img read more

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