Tag: "feed-in tariff"

10/12/10

  09:24:21 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 379 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, LADWP, SPI 2010

Will Feed-In Tariffs Finally Allow the US to Catch-up to Germany for Solar Power?

Just in time for the start of the 10th Annual Solar Power International Conference - kicking off today in downtown Los Angeles - the LA Times this morning is reporting on the push to bring the economic sanity of feed-in tariffs to the United States for individual solar installations.

According to the article:

A July study by UC Berkeley researchers estimated that a feed-in tariff program could create 28,000 clean-tech jobs each year for a decade, as well as generate more than $2 billion in tax revenue and pump more than $50 billion in new private investment to the state.

That is 280,000 clean-tech jobs over the next ten years in California from one enlightened policy alone. Rolling the program out across the country would produce even more clean-tech jobs and even more economic development.  Germany has done this for years - which explains why they have four times as much installed solar as the US, even though they get a fraction of the sunlight we get and are one-twentieth our size.  So what is the holdup?

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the utilities - particularly LADWP - seem to be dragging their feet, saying “the Devil is in the details,” that the process is “much more complicated than anyone acknowledges,”  and that we need to proceed in a “sober” fashion.

Seriously?  Come on, folks, we already interconnect small solar installations to the grid and net meter those systems.  A feed-in tariff like the one in Germany would simply require the utility to pay for every kilowatt hour generated at a premium price.  How hard is that?  Given a set price for an extended period - typically 20 years - would give homeowners and business owners alike the economic certainty to make the US the world leader in installed solar.

At least one city seems to get it.  Again from the article:

A feed-in tariff program is particularly appealing to residents of Palm Desert. For many homeowners there, the highest expense after the mortgage payment is the power bill, which often hits $1,000 a month.

If homeowners and businesses could easily earn back the cost of solar panels, demand would skyrocket and clean-tech development companies would flock to Palm Desert, said [Jim] Ferguson, the mayor pro tem.

“Solar isn’t a luxury for us — it’s a lifeline,” he said.

We couldn’t agree more!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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