If you ask the common person on the street what’s so good about solar power, they’ll likely say that it’s good for the environment. And, of course, they’d be right. Connect the environment dot to the health dot, and what that means is that solar power is much better for our health (than coal, natural gas, etc.).
Naturally, this should stimulate more solar power growth and more solar-friendly policies. Alas, we don’t live in a perfect (and sometimes quite an absurd) world. With solar power finally growing up and starting to threaten conventional solar industries, attacks on policies supporting its growth are increasing. Some California physicians have teamed up with solar companies (e.g. Sunrun, SolarCity,…) in order to fight back these attacks.
“A coalition of public health leaders and solar energy companies has formed CAUSE (Californians Against Utilities Stopping solar Energy) to combat monopoly utility efforts to kill rooftop solar. CAUSE is dedicated to maintaining a thriving solar industry in California, and to promoting the health and economic benefits that solar delivers to all Californians,” a press release published yesterday stated.
“The state’s investor-owned utilities—PG&E, SDG&E and SCE—are trying to end net energy metering (NEM), a successful policy in 43 states that gives consumers fair credit for the solar they deliver to the grid. In simple terms, it’s like rollover minutes on your cell phone bill. The utilities have taken aim at net metering to keep customers from taking action that would save ratepayers and taxpayers money while protecting public health. A January study by Crossborder Energy found that net metering will provide more than $92 million in annual benefits to ratepayers of California’s three investor-owned utilities.”
Of course, aside from the health, climate, and other environmental impacts from slowing solar growth, doing so would also slow local job growth — not cool.
Some final words from CAUSE: “California has installed more than 1,400 MW of rooftop solar capacity – the equivalent of nearly three dirty, coal-fired power plants. This solar electricity is pollution-free and generated from an inexhaustible source. The California solar industry employs more than 43,000 workers and has driven $10 billion in private investment in the state over the past five years. Industry analysts credit net metering as the cornerstone policy for continued solar growth.”