The new solar mandate: A leap forward or a step back?

This is a great article from our semi-local favorite, the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Here are some pull-outs from “The new solar mandate: A leap forward or a step back?”:

First, rooftop solar systems generate electricity that is anywhere from two to six times more costly than large renewable sources like utility-scale solar farms.

“Rooftop solar is an extremely expensive way to move to zero-carbon energy,” Borenstein said. “It costs a lot more than grid-scale solar. It is not cost-effective for the system as a whole.”That, Bushnell argues, raises the question about whether a mandate was really needed.

“It is a blunt instrument,” Bushnell said. “If you’re building a new home, you have a bunch of choices to make about exactly how energy-efficient you want it to be … And installing solar is now in the ‘you gotta do it’ category.”

Critics worry the new rule could crowd out lower-cost, more efficient renewable energy sources in the future.

As more solar customers get credited at the retail price, there is upward pressure on rates to cover the utilities’ costs (provided the CPUC approves those rate increases).

Borenstein says that leads to costs moving from those who have rooftop solar on their homes to those who do not.

“The CEC says individual homeowners will save money,” Borenstein said. “But they’re only going to save money because they are essentially shifting costs to other consumers, other ratepayers.”

To read the complete article please click here.