I have to admit that tension really is brewing between the power utilities and the solar industry – at least the part of it that promotes distributed (e.g., rooftop) generation (DG). Yet it’s hard for me to understand all this bad blood. The utilities are doing exactly what we asked them to do: generate and distribute low-cost electricity in a super-reliable fashion – and DG undeniably represents a threat to that objective. How surprised can we be that a powerful force is antipathetic to a live and growing challenge?
Maybe it’s time to reframe our utilities’ mission. When we had this conversation in the early 20th Century, we didn’t care where the power came from. Now we do. We didn’t need or want incentives to consume less electricity. Again, now we do. Let’s be wise enough to build those concerns into a new generation of laws by which our utilities are regulated — and the tensions will disappear instantly.