If you’re following the “Great Solar Debate,” you’ve probably heard a lot about TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed). At first glance, they seem like a reasonable, free-market supporting group who wants to promote renewable energy in Arizona. But after a little digging, that narrative falls apart.
TUSK is bankrolled by SunRun and SolarCity, California solar companies who, like Solyndra, depend on corporate welfare to make a profit. They want YOU to subsidize their wealthy solar customers. You see, when a utility customer with solar panels creates more energy than they use, the utility company reimburses them. That sounds fair – until you find out the company is required to pay them five times the fair market value for their power. Not only that, but customers with solar power need integration, distribution, and more from utilities. When they don’t pay for those services and take five times the fair rate from a utility, it raises energy rates for everyone else. Why should you have to subsidize your neighbors’ solar power?
It’s estimated that the average rooftop solar system in Arizona will add $20,000 in costs for other customers. Just because media-stuntman Jason Rose and You’re-Only-Listening-To-Me-Because-My-Name-Is-Barry-Goldwater-Jr. say it’s fair, it doesn’t make it so. If we want solar to be sustainable in the long term, we need real, customer-focused net metering reform based on free market principles. It’s not about utilities versus solar, or non-solar versus solar, it’s about basic fairness.