29 Mar '15, 5pm

Solar panel owners and utilities battle it out in California

This story is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Solar power is having a major moment. It’s growing faster than any other energy source — in 2014, a new system was installed in the United States every three minutes — while the price of a typical panel has dropped 63 percent since 2010. By 2016, experts predict that solar will be as cheap or cheaper than conventional electricity in most states. But solar companies are warning that the boom could soon end, if utilities and some Republican state lawmakers have their way. Power companies’ beef with solar boils down to a clever payment system that was largely responsible for bringing about the solar boom in the first place — a practice known as net metering. Most solar homes aren’t actually “off the grid”: They stay connected to transmission lines, using regular power when their panels aren’t operating (...

Full article: http://grist.org/article/solar-panel-owners-and-utilities...

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