When it comes to net metering dollars and cents for utilities, the utility bill face-off between rooftop solar champions and utilities continues to evolve.
With net metering wins being achieved in states like Colorado and Nevada, owners of rooftop solar systems may not be as fortunate in states like Florida, where the development of large-scale solar projects are being planned by investor-owned utilities Florida Power and Light (FPL) .
As one solar owner has put it:
“But the war on solar is now public, CEO of FPL is now out with a tour on the supposed “cost-shift” caused by solar on homes. Instead the solar plants, he says, should be large-scale (but only owned by the investor owned utilities). This will not play out well but we shall see.”
FPL CEO Eric Silagy has said that large-scale utility solar projects are more efficient than rooftop solar projects because each home requires a custom build and setup. In addition to this, FPL is required to buy all unused solar power at a retail price, which he argues is three times the cost of what it takes to produce power at FPL plants.
FPL is presently working on three projects that will each use about 1 million solar panels, Silagy has said. If this sounds like the proverbial case of Goliath versus David, the analogy is probably fitting.
But utilities seeking to expand clean renewable electricity in their portfolio believe they need to make business sense of how they utilize solar assets.
The Goliath likeness has reared its head on the Pacific coast, as well. California regulators have found themselves addressing new net metering policies under a plan referred to as Net Energy Metering 2.0. These potential changes could spell huge pitfalls for the development of rooftop solar, writes The Motley Fool:
“As part of the discussion, the state’s three biggest utilities, Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and San Diego Gas & Electric, are proposing changes to net metering that could stop the residential solar industry in its tracks.”
Add a number of large solar companies — like Solar City — to this list of net metering champions and we have the makings of an enduring face-off.