MD DC DE VA Solar Energy Industries Association

Barriers to Solar Power

21

Nov 13

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While the use of solar power has been encourage in the US with subsides and tax incentives, there are still many barriers left that solar power must conquer before this source of power becomes a more widely used. This year, has seen it’s share of solar barriers, with state bills introducing a net metering limit, and Spain announcing a plan for taxing solar panel users.

Some states have proposed bills that would put limits on net-metered solar power. With ne-metering being a strong incentive for future solar power owners, the threat of a looming bar that would but a cap on the energy metering system would definitely discourage some homeowners from installing solar panels. Some attribute the introduction of this bill to the fact that the cost of solar energy is nearing the point where it has actually become cheaper than electricity from the grid. Thus the utility companies seeing solar power as a threat are encouraging this bill to limit the power of solar in the energy industry. “solar industry executives say the utilities feel threatened” with the fact that “solar’s getting to a cost point where it’s cheaper than retail electricity, so they want to do everything they can to stop it.”2 In Vermont, “Washington Electric Co-op announced… that it would limit the size of future solar installations to 5 kilowatts. A system that size will not produce enough electricity to power the average Vermont home, according to a release from Renewable Energy Vermont.”3 Solar advocates say that this is yet another ploy by utility companies to reel back solar energy’s power.

A few months ago, Spain announced that it would begin taxing its citizens for the use of solar panels. According to the country’s Industry Minister, Jose Manuel Soria, “the power system has infrastructure, grids that the rest of us Spaniards who are in the system have to pay for. And we pay for it through our electricity bill.” Others have criticized the new law by stating it be like forcing “cyclists to pay a levy to keep open the petrol stations they don’t use.” This new tax would punish “private individuals who fail to hook their solar panels up to the national grid to be metered and taxed,” and that failure would result in “fines of up to €30 million ($40 million) under the new law.”1

With new systems of discouraging solar power from becoming a prominent source of the world’s electricity, the solar industry must come up with ways to fight back. The utility companies fear the looming power that they know solar energy has and will what they can to prevent what will sooner or later become a mainstream source of electricity for homeowners around the world.

Sources:

  1. http://www.thelocal.es/20130821/spanish-solar-law-hits-international-headlines
  2. http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Solar-customers-net-metering-challenged-4396058.php
  3. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/08/vermont-solar-advocates-fuming-over-net-metering-limitation
  4. http://newscenter.lbl.gov/wp-content/uploads/238_2645544.JPG

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