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Archive for May 11th, 2009

willie V

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Sun MoneyThanks to Luke Metzger at the Environment Texas blog for this take on pending net metering legislation (read: making sure folks with solar panels get paid back for the excess energy they produce):

On Monday, the Texas House will decide whether to promote solar energy by requiring utilities to pay consumers fair prices for surplus solar power or to codify anti-consumer practices in order to benefit big utilities like TXU. Here’s the story.

Sick of riding the rollercoaster of high electric rates and concerned over pollution and dependence on foreign oil, many Texans are turning to solar power to get more choices than their electric company provides. More than 40 states help consumers do this by requiring electric companies to pay a fair price for the surplus electricity solar panels put back on the grid (known as net metering). In return, the electric grid benefits from a supply of pollution-free electricity during peak-demand time periods, such as hot summer afternoons, avoiding congestion costs and dampening real-time on-peak wholesale energy prices. The more renewable generation that is located at customer’s houses and businesses, the less will need to be charged in the future to all customers’ electric bills for wires, fuel and pollution costs. Incentivizing solar will also help create jobs and attract manufacturers to the state.

In addition to consumer rebates and tax credits, net metering is a key financial driver making solar power a cost-effective investment for consumers. Texas had such a policy in place in the 1980s, but with the restructuring of the electric market, old definitions of electric utilities no longer applied and net metering was inadvertently ended. (more…)

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