Utilities vs. solar
Lou Kilzer's news story “Scientist: Renewable energy sources won't supplant fossil fuels by 2035” (Oct. 28 and TribLIVE.com) caught my attention. I'm glad to see a responsible report that quotes scientists stating it is “probably too late to arrest the inevitable trend of global warming” in the Trib. This balance in Trib reporting on the subject is commendable. I would also agree that natural gas is positioned to be our short-term energy solution. The economics are undeniable.
The analysis of solar power missed important news from this summer. California and Arizona are in the midst of policy changes to limit payments for homeowners who sell power from rooftop solar panels under a program called “net metering.” Solar installations multiplying like rabbits are causing profit concerns among power utilities. This economic reality contradicts Norwegian doctoral candidate Schalk Cloete's contention that “(s)olar technology has advanced about as much as it can.” Solar has advanced as much as the utilities want it to. Now they are pushing back with negative public-relations campaigns toward solar.
In my case, 5 kilowatts' worth of solar panels provided over half of our electricity in 2013. I still buy power, but much less than last year. This is the reason utilities seek to limit solar technology and change the rate structure for guys like me.