for solar power to work
In his July 20 Letter to the Editor, W. Wayne Surles complained about what he believes to be deceptive and unfair charges imposed by Dominion Energy due to his home solar installation. He relied on his vendor to tell him the whole story. He failed to do his homework. When he discovered a monthly fee on his bill, he blames Dominion. No one forced him to install those solar panels.
Politicians chase votes by pushing “too good to be true” policies in high-visibility areas. It is up to real world engineers and economists to try to make it happen. The politicians will be long gone by then. Because solar power is not economically competitive, rebates, tax breaks and special rates are the near-term fix for policies to encourage green energy. It is very difficult to determine the true cost of that green energy. These incentives are not sustainable as solar installations multiply.
Currently net metering rates are in place to encourage home solar. In effect, the electric meter runs backwards when Surles is delivering his excess power to the grid. It runs normally when Dominion is providing the power at night or on cloudy days. Without Dominion maintained infrastructure, he cannot get his excess power to the grid; nor can he receive backup power from Dominion. He is billed according to the net kilowatt hours. Utilities recover infrastructure costs through power sales. Because of net metering, solar customers don’t pay their fair share of infrastructure costs. In the extreme, Dominion could earn little or no revenue from a solar customer for an extended period. As a result, non-solar customers will have to pick up the slack. Thus, the concept of a monthly fee for solar customers is justified.