There’s a fight going on right now that not many of us realize. It’s a fight for the economic viability of solar. Now more than ever, solar PV is a fiscally responsible tool to improve cash-flow for your home or business; however, there are utility companies fighting to add fees to those who would add solar distributive generation.

In Arizona, a $50 a month net metering charge is being added to future customers with rooftop solar arrays:http://www.srpnet.com/p…/priceprocess/customergenerated.aspx In Indiana, HB 1320 will bring many new requirements for solar installers, as well as, new interconnection costs, increase fixed utility fees, and revoke the retail rate from net metering.

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America stated of the Bill “Indiana’s utilities are interested in keeping us reliant on traditional fuel sources that hurt our national security and weaken our economy.”https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/house/1320

In Wisconsin, the same is happening. WE Energies is increasing the fixed fees and increasing the demand charges for new solar installations. “It’s very clear they’re not looking out for the best interest of their customers, they’re looking out for the best interest of their stockholders,” said Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.

In Utah anew law was added last year that allows utility companies to charge small renewable adopters extra fees to account for the costs associated with net metering programs. The Rocky Mountain Power utility company added a new flat monthly charge to all net metering customers. Several other states are considering laws to allow utility companies to have renewable energy related charges. Their justification and mantra is fairness. The utility companies argue that they still must maintain all the costs associated with their infrastructure and renewable adopters do not pay their share. The funny part of this argument is that the business or homeowner that has a distributive generation solar or wind systems only serves to assist the utility company, particularly on high demands days.

The other interesting fact is that there should be a clear delineation between pole & wire charges versus generation charges. Operating out of the greater Dayton, Ohio area, OGW Energy Resources sees this issue clearly as a freedom of choice issue. We advocate for our clients from a fiscally conservative standpoint.

For some clients cash flow is the most important issue and for others realizing SRECs, 30% ITC and Modified Accelerated Depreciation is suitable. At its core the utility companies, that are changing the solar industry in certain markets by changing the economics through extra fees, will force residential and commercial decision makers to consider a new rate variable that was not there before. Uncertainty is no friend to a viable project. It’s past time to fight….. What can you do? Stay informed and speak out against anti-distributive generation fees.

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