#ncga: NC can learn from Nevada’s fight with solar goons

The solar goons, the drive-bys and the ruling class have had their fun laughing at the people of Woodland, North Carolina solarfor opposing the construction of a new solar energy farm.   They took a few comments from local residents — about the farm sucking up all of the sunlight — and ran with it.  (Never mind the more genuine, serious concern.  The town already has solar farms on three of its four sides.  A new farm would completely box the place in with solar panels. They’d have to change their name from Woodland to Panelville.) 

That story did a great job of providing a distraction from the real issue:  how an industry, that could not survive on its own, is propped up with all kinds of government mandates and subsidies. 

North Carolina’s state Utility Commission  established net-metering procedures for the state’s three big utility providers in 2005.  The state of Nevada is discontinuing its net-metering process, and — boy — do the solar goons have their undergarments in a wad:

Solar energy is no longer in its infancy, but the industry is refusing to grow up. See the tantrum the government-funded industry is throwing at Nevada’s rollback of its net-metering subsidy.

Last week the Nevada Public Utilities Commission voted to sunset the state’s net metering program, which compensates customers who remit excess solar power generated from their rooftop panels at the retail rate of power. The retail price is about two times higher than wholesale because it also includes transmission, delivery and grid maintenance costs.

More than 40 states have net-metering programs. The principal beneficiaries have been solar-leasing companies like SolarCity and SunRun, which install solar panels at no upfront cost to customers, pocket the sundry government subsidies, and then rent the panels at rates that typically escalate by about 3% annually but are initially lower than power from the grid. Homeowners can shave 20% from electric bills.shake

Sounds like a great deal—but there’s no free green lunch, and non-solar utility customers must underwrite this hidden subsidy. Nevada’s utility commission estimate that non-solar ratepayers—who tend to be lower income—subsidize each solar user in southern Nevada to the tune of $623 per year. Most of this flows to solar-leasing company investors such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.[…] 

Hmmm.  Detaching leeches from the taxpayer teat.  That HAS to be upsetting:

In short, net metering is regressive political income redistribution in support of a putatively progressive cause. Several states including Hawaii, Arizona and California have recently proposed changing their net-metering policies to reduce the cost shift. In October the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission cut by roughly half the rate paid to new solar customers after finding that the subsidy was unnecessary to encourage solar adoption.

Nevada’s regulators went even further by slashing payments to existing solar customers from retail to the wholesale rate and raising their fixed charge for using the grid. Solar can strain the grid because the sun doesn’t shine all the time.

You’d think the solar companies would be grateful for the subsidies they still receive, accept the policy change and move on. But SolarCity reacted by announcing that it would cease sales and installations in the state. CEO Lyndon Rive griped that “the Nevada government encouraged these people to go solar with financial incentives and pro-solar policies, and now the same government is punishing them for their decision with new costs they couldn’t have foreseen.”

Punishing with NEW costs ??? It’s forcing them to stop mooching off of other people, and start paying for what they use.  The real problem here is crooked politicians and solar snake-oil types using the bureaucracy to create the illusion of a much better investment than truly exists.  MORE: 

The solar lobby, which intends to challenge the commission’s decision in court, has also denounced the retroactive change in policy. But the state has always maintained its prerogative to modify net metering. Solar customers must sign an interconnection agreement with the NV Energy utility stipulating that “the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (‘Commission’) or the Utility may amend its tariffs upon Commission approval.”compete

SolarCity’s financial statements have long acknowledged this regulatory risk to investors. “Our ability to sell solar energy systems and the electricity they generate may be adversely impacted by” changes in net-metering policies including “reductions in the amount or value of credit that customers receive through net metering,” the company’s third quarter 10-Q notes.

Most current solar customers won’t even be affected unless solar-leasing companies jack up their rates to bail out their investors. One lesson is that corporate welfare encourages dependency and entitlement that’s difficult to break. The 30% federal investment tax credit for solar began in 2006 with a two-year sunset. Congress recently extended the subsidy through 2021 in its year-end budget.

Nevada’s three public utility commissioners and Governor Brian Sandoval deserve credit for attempting to wean the overgrown solar babies. As the Governor stated, “Nevada has provided tremendous support to the solar industry” but the government must ensure that “families who consume traditional energy sources are not paying more just to finance the rooftop solar marketplace.” Lawmakers everywhere, please take note.

Government can mandate a demand all they want.  In the end, those efforts always crash and burn.  And the taxpayers are left picking up the pieces.

20 thoughts on “#ncga: NC can learn from Nevada’s fight with solar goons

  1. Conservatives in our legislature want to stand up to these corrupt parasites in the renewable energy scam, which is ripping off ratepayers. Those politicians who are bought and paid for by these corrupt crony capitalists of the renewable energy cabal need to be run out of office, preferably in the primary. ANY candidate who uses two progressive Republican consultants who have been bought and paid for by these corrupt leftwing leachs, Dee Stewart and Paul Shumaker, should be avoided like the plague by conservative voters and contributors. Civitas outed them as being bought off by radical leftwing environmentalist money.

    Candidates I can think of off hand who are in the pocket of the corrupt greenies and who have primary opponents include David Lewis and Nelson Dollar. We need to work to replace them. It is not too late to run conservative independents by petition against some of the others like Jerry Tillman, Tim Moore, Jason Saine, Kelly Hastings, John Skoza, Bob Steinburg, and Charles Jeter.

    All of these scoundrels are pushing a key Obama policy and opposing the GOP platform and they do not belong in the GOP.

    1. Corruption runs Long and Deep in the fossil fuel industry’s realtaionship with our State and Federal Governments. The solar and wind energy can’t hold a candle to the dirty fuel companies when it comes to corruption, croney capitalism, and subsidies.

      1. Either your knowledge base is limited to the Daily Kos and ThinkProgress talking points, or you are delusional, or perhaps both.

        You have been over the whole state subsidies for energy issue before on these boards, and your arguments have been proven to be nonsense. So why do you keep repeating them? Do you think that by repeating a lie often enough, it becomes true? You link to leftwing websites that make stupid arguments like saying the military budget is a ”subsidy” of conventional energy and other similar garbage.

        Green energy only exists because some politicians are willing to use classic fascist principles of economics to support corrupt crony capitalists who could not otherwise stand on their own two feet. Conventional energy can exist without government, but corrupt green energy would fall flat on its face.

        1. OR – I am correct, which is the case. IF you bother to read my short post you will see that I also included the Federal Government in my critique. You should also remember that the NC State Government did throw money directly to the fracking industry earlier this year. The NC State Government also fast tracked the fracking permits contrary to it’s promise not to do so. They also gave away land owner rights to the fracking industry. And then there is the nod to the off shore oil development and rolling over to Duke Power on the coal ash spill issue allowing Duke to go on polluting not only our air but our waterways too with hardly a sideways look.

          1. Yes, the federal issue has been hashed out before, and the left’s argument is nonsense there as well. They want to include tax breaks that all businesses get as some sort of government favoritism to conventional energy, which it is NOT. They also want to include the military budget as a ”subsidy” to conventional energy.

            The tiny amount in that fracking grant, which also should NOT have been given, is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions to the corrupt green crony capitalists who have made political prostitutes of some of our legislators. Fracking can, and usually does, pay its own way, unlike solar and wind.

            Government does not force consumers to buy other forms of energy. Why should we tolerate government forcing the monopoly utilities, who pass the extra cost on to us, to buy expensive and unreliable wind and solar? That is nothing but tyranny, and the corrupt politicians responsible need to be thrown out of office. Why should we tolerate government forcing other electric consumers to subsidize those with solar panels and the corrupt companies that service those?

  2. Don’t fall prey to these “green energy” Ponzi Schemes promulgated by these wacko environmentalists.
    Billions for these solar and wind farms, while Hussein continues his war on coal and fossil fuels.
    “Under my plan, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.” QUOTE: Barack Hussein Obama.
    Enjoy your higher power bills!

    1. You should point out that President Obama’s “Plan” for Cap and Trade is not implemented. You should also point out that many private industry heavy hitters are wanting and financing their own solar and wind generation. Also, if it were not for environmental standards, our air would, at best, look like Beijing at its worst.

      1. What rubbish. Comrade Obama is doing the same thing through regulation and other means as his Cap and Trade scheme. Those private industry heavy hitters are ”financing” that solar and wind generation through federal and State subsidies, which in some cases reimburses these rich guys their entire cost. This subsidy of the super rich needs to be stopped.

        Pollution like smog is an entirely different issue. That was dealt with decades ago in the US. This global warming garbage is totally unrelated. Carbon is not ”pollution” but is a necessary nutrient for plants.

        1. Not once have I mentioned Climate Change or Global Warming on this thread. Burning fossil fuels DOES Pollute our air and, thanks to Duke Power, we see that it can also contribute to polluting our water.

          You have the environmental community and environmental scientists to thank for pointing us in the direction needed to head off Very High levels of pollutants in our air.

          President Obama is doing what he can from his station in our Federal Government but it is NOT what his plan entailed. His actions on this issue have come way below what his “plan” involved.

          1. The truth is that smog in the US is ancient history, and has been dealt with long before the Obama regime. Obama is doing what he is under the bogus global warming theory.

            If you look at ALL factors of building and operating wind and solar, there is massive pollution involved, as well as killing millions of birds and bats.

          2. There are environmental costs to ANY energy production. I have never denied that. You try to imply that there are no costs to fossil fuels. Nothing could be further from the truth. Far more wildlife are killed by fossil fuel resource extraction, refinement, and burning than there are in using wind and solar energy. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people have died or maimed for these resources. Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by wars fought over the fossil fuel resources. Trillions of dollars have been spent to support the wars over and the exrtaction of ever dwindling fossil fuel resources.

            This is not to say that I see anyone making an immediate shift to renwables. We need to, for the environment and for our national security, begin the transition to alternative means of energy production and build in efficiency in our use of energy.

          3. Wind and solar kill millions of birds. One of the earlier wind farms, at Altamont Pass, California, alone has killed hundreds of thousands of them, including eagles and endangered species. Bats as well. Conventional power generation does not do this.

            Then there is the pollution is making the windmills and solar panels, like this massive pollution uncovered by a major British newspaper in the manufacture of wind turbines:

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

            Again, there is nothing even close to that disastrous level of pollution associated with conventional energy production.

            You far lefties are trying to bring in military casualties with your body count on conventional energy, and that is just bogus. The real human casualties of green energy are shown in that British article, and they are civilian.

            Wind and solar are also not ready for prime time. They are intermittent power and so are inefficient in the extreme, since wind only works when the wind is blowing and solar only when the sun is shining and there is no practical way to store electricity on a large scale. It is asinine to subsidize building something that is not yet ready to go mainstream. It is time for research to try to work the bugs out, but not to charge consumers out the wahzoo for a product that is not really ready for market.

  3. Well heres a bit of bad news… the gen assy. will have to do special legislation setting up a green energy plan on 3 main points set out by the EPA…one of them regarding renewables such as tax credits!!!! … etc… If the general assembly maintains their current policies in September the EPA will inflict their own and they will be far worse.

    1. There is a lawsuit against that bit of fascist tyranny, and as I recall, North Carolina and our governor are among the plaintiffs. Some states are also saying that they will refuse to comply.

        1. The action needs to come from our GOP House and Senate overturning these absurd rules, and maybe defunding the thugs at the EPA while they are at it. We do NOT need to knuckle under.

  4. I thought the solar credits worth 12k on my system that i had to sign over to nv energy to get net metering covered all the costs? were did that 12k go?
    how much does it really cost to run power 50 feet to my neighbor?
    (extra solar power goes to the nearest user)
    I would like to run underground wire (50 feet = $300.00) to my neighbors home
    and sell him my extra solar power.
    so if it only cost me say 1k to run wires to my neighbor were do they get 674.00 a year in costs from? will nv energy let me run power to my neighbor with my own wires?

  5. Our legislature needs to put an end to this electric consumer ripoff. If someone sells power back, it should be at the wholesale rate, not the retail rate. Consumers need to stand up to this arrogant and abusive special interest and its bought and paid for politicians. Lets get these parasites off of our back.

    There are lots of other costs involved, not only of the power grid, but also backup power for when the sun is not shining.

    Will we see a bill to correct this abuse in the next legislative session?

  6. Gee, you’d think these “greenies” would support nuclear power, right? It’s non-polluting, doesn’t kill thousands of migratory birds (like windmills do), and the only discharge is water vapor.
    France (no flaming conservative country) gets 75% of it’s power from nuke plants.
    But no, whenever we propose building a new nuke plant, these wacko environmentalist groups go to court to stop it. (WHAT ABOUT THREE MILE ISLAND?…..they scream).
    We have the biggest fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil and natural gas)in the world. We need to harvest them (responsibly). Wind and solar cannot come close to meeting America’s energy needs.

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