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Home Solar Savings – A Tale of Two Utilities

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 1:14 pm by Solar Energy USA
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It is no surprise that home solar panel installations have both fans and foes. What is surprising is the vast amount of misinformation that consumes the internet with respect to who wins and who loses when a homeowner goes solar on a roof.

In the news recently is a an AP article which spells out Georgia Power’s view that solar customers do not pay their fair share of grid maintenance costs. As home power generation becomes more popular and more homeowners adopt solar to save money on power bills, utilities are fearful they will lose enough customers – and revenue – that they won’t be able to maintain the grid.

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One Georgia utility has asked regulators to add a new $22 dollar monthly fee for solar customers who install solar energy power generation systems beginning next year. According to John Kraft, Georgia Power spokesman, the fee is needed because solar customers buy less power from the utility but still require access to the grid and other infrastructure.

Georgia Power argues that the benefit from individual home power generation is less than the cost of maintaining the grid connection to rooftop solar panel systems.

“Solar generation tends to peak by 2 p.m. and then declines. Our system peak is between 5 and 7 p.m., so at the period of greatest strain, solar systems are back to pulling from Georgia Power” Kraft added.

Meanwhile, on the other side of America, a recent report analyzing a major Colorado utility making a similar claim tells a different story.

A September 2013 news analysis of the Xcel energy grid found that customer investment in solar energy systems delivered as much as $11 million dollars in annual benefits to Colorado ratepayers. And according to the author, those findings are in “stark contrast” to the utility’s own cost-benefit analysis that was submitted to regulators in what appears to be an attempt to put the brakes on rooftop solar growth which is cutting into their revenue stream.

While this may or may not be another attempt from utilities to curtail solar’s disruptive properties (read Clark Howard’s thoughts on the economically compelling trend of home solar installs), we at Solar Energy USA encourage you to do your research, form your own conclusions, and contact the Georgia PSC members with your thoughts on added fees for solar customers.

www.solarenergy-usa.com

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