Looking at the nation’s electric utilities, you may see a warning light flashing from how Solar Power in the U.S. has grown up. Big and Small Utility companies, whether for profit or not is facing a serious disruption from Solar Power Technology.
Can remember way back to the Seventies? You might recall that energy was very turbulent. Solar was just a gleam in the eye of environmentalists dreaming for renewable energy.
Today, solar certainly is no longer a pipe dream. It has matured into an industry that is creating jobs across the world. Solar has also become a crisis for the utility companies to reckon with.
The Birth of Solar:
Who can remember the energy turbulent 1970s? Environmentalists who dared to dream of renewable energy, dreamed of Solar Power.
Simple solar systems had been installed to heat water but that was as far as it went. Producing electricity for an entire home from the sun was more complex and way too expensive.
The time for new technology of photovoltaic cells was upon us. New research was implemented. Plans were created for mass manufacturing. There was hundreds of millions of dollars in research and subsidies invested in Solar. Since then, the cost of solar cells has fallen.
Today’s Solar Power:
Solar Power in U.S. has grown up. Solar today is no longer an environmentalists dream. It is shaping up to be a mature industry that creates jobs. The traditional utility companies are in a crisis with the growth of Solar.
Solar advocates are pushing congress for protections. They want to allow customers to not only to become a mini power provider. Giving them the ability to sell back the excess power to the local utility. Net metering is what it is called and it is at the center of the crisis today.
Right now, fifty percent of the nation’s electric market is residential, especially larger homes. Of course, these homes use a lot of electricity, and traditionally paid more as consumption rises. These are the ones that are turning to solar generation. They expect to make a profit selling excess production to the grid.
Looking to the Future:
The solar incursion into the traditional marketplace might be the beginning of more self-generation. We can see home-based, micro-gas turbines on the future in addition to solar power. The utilities will and must adjust.
Environmentalists are as disturbed as the utilities. Some are calling the imposition of a surcharge on rooftop generators, as in Arizona recently, an attempt by the greedy utilities to stamp out competition. But many are seeking alternative solutions without a war over generating, and without punishing those unable to afford their own generation.
Solar Power in U.S. Has Grown Up. It isn’t your father’s electric utility anymore, or just your hippie’s solar power, it’s quickly becoming the people’s solar power.