Could Lobbyists Kill Tesla’s Solar Roof?

Tesla Model X and Solar Roof


Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla Solar Roof (Textured Glass shown/available now)

Not unlike Big Oil’s battle against EVs, or traditional dealerships fight to stop Tesla’s direct sales model, or labor unions pushing to organize Tesla, traditional utility companies are lobbying against Tesla’s Solar Roof.

As expected, it seems every direction Tesla turns, there is a fight to be fought. Now that the company best known for its electric cars is diving deeper into solar energy for residential homes, lobbyist for utility companies are going to bat to assure that states won’t allow solar roof products. David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, told the New York Times (per Teslarati):


Tesla Powerwall battery for home energy storage.

“There’s no doubt these utilities are out to kill rooftop solar, and they’re succeeding. They’re now driving the agenda.”

Whether or not there are people want or can afford the Tesla Solar Roof, or any solar roof product for that matter, utility companies are pointing out that it will end up costing others more money. The power companies will also lose money, so lobbyist are informing states of the potential impacts, in hopes that lawmakers will think twice.

The main argument from the utility company lobbyists is that with less people using traditional power, the state’s power prices will have to go up. This means that those who can’t afford the solar options, will experience a rate hike. Additionally, solar users can send power back to the grid. This allows the solar roof owners to build up a credit and get “free” energy, according to lobbyists. This “free” energy will have to be paid for by the customers that stick with traditional power.

So, essentially, the lobbyists are trying to make it seem like the solar roof option will benefit the rich, while robbing the poor. This is not necessarily something that state lawmakers like to support. However, some utility companies have already decided to team up with Tesla. As Tesla continues to roll out its solar roof products, it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. The Silicon Valley company is still in the midst of several battles to sell its cars in certain states.

Source: Teslarati

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142 Comments on "Could Lobbyists Kill Tesla’s Solar Roof?"

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Advocate “for” EVs. Then offer cheap at-home electric prices but well above the wholesale prices of electricity that utilities pay the generators.

For me, at night, price of MWh = $25. That is 2.5 cents per kWh. If utilities get homeowners charging EVs they can sell them power at .08/kWh and still be better for the EV driver than buying gasoline.

But how can a utility “push for EVs” while trying to get customers to cut back on power so they don’t need peaker plants for a few days a week? They are in a tough spot.

TOU rate plans and EV rate plans are needed to get power companies selling more power overnight when they need to.

Lobby right – EVs charging at night would be a great benefit for the grid.

Solar from customer roofs, is FAR CHEAPER than peaker plant rates during peak demand, so, actually utilities are MAKING MONEY off Solar Customers.

But, like Global Warming, if it benefits the Monopoly to Lie, the Monopoly will lie. There’s NO ETHICS in this generation of “leaders” making them Poor Leaders.

CEO’s incentivized to protect their paychecks, not the Public Good.

That’s why there’s supposed to be a PUBLIC Utility Commission, looking out for the PUBLIC, for the BENEFIT of the Public.

Peaker Plant rates are due to the markets they are in and the “fast start” premiums that were legislated decade(s) ago. Get rid of that since the cost of peaker plant construction, usage and so on can be handled in other ways.

Peaker plant laws and market pricing during the rare “peaks” was written even before LED light bulbs could be chosen or the 2010+ proliferation of Solar PV.

Problem is peak load is not noon – it is 5pm-9pm in California. This means that solar is just creating a new Duck Curve that people are now trying to sell batteries to fix. The problem is not solar – it is the how the grid is setup and the shut down of coal and sometimes nuclear base-load plants.

If you want to talk about California’s grid leave coal out…even nuclear is irrelevant.
At bottom of page you can see the mix.

I know that Solar City isn’t even allowed in my state.

I’m sick of debating this stupid argument. My power that i generate during the day is sold to my neighbors at peak prices while i get it back at night at off pick rate. Tesla needs to accelerate storage development so averege joes can just cut the cord….after cable i wold love to cut electric next. The connection fee is $10 now but I anticipate they will jack this up in the future. The will also claim that for some safety/standard of living crap you can’t disconnect…interesting times ahead!

The issue is charging batteries at home first, then charging your car from them is a bit of a negative due to the round trip losses of twice-charging.

Huh? That’s the shortest “round trip” of any power source ever.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I think maybe the reference is to conversion loss?

No, he’s talking about charging your PowerWall (or other home storage system) in the daytime, and then charging your EV at night from the PowerWall.

Of course nobody who knew what he was doing would do that; you’d have to be rather ignorant of how things work not to realize that approach would wear out the home storage batteries far faster, and would absolutely not be cost-effective.

Since (almost) nobody will be doing that, it’s a straw man argument.

Sorry, I think that is certainly they longer term objective. And it makes sense as the vehicle is most likely out and about during the day. If it can charge at work, or while parked, then the top up over night will be minimal. You really need to look long term. Elon might say 100kWh battery is big enough, but in 10-20yrs time I’m sure there will be 250kWh batteries, or even larger, or probably something totally different. If you think about towing a caravan, or U-Haul trailer, or many work vehicles that do lots of miles, then you can easily see 200+kWh batteries will be needed. What is PowerWall today? 12-14kWh? If you want to power your vehicle then you are going to need a lot more than that. My average usage, with the car, is about 25-30kW per day. To be completely off grid in going to need probably double that to account for low yield days. I’ve only got one EV at the moment, so when we have 2 or more EV’s the requirement will be that much higher again. Also, you only ever consider the US point of view. In Australia the government is doing stuff… Read more »

“They will also claim that for some safety/standard of living crap you can’t disconnect”

You already can’t in almost all municipalities. A grid connection is required to maintain a “legal” house. Cut the cord and the city will condemn your house and charge you with trespassing if you refuse to leave.

Live in Amish country. Most of those municipalities are fine with dozens of people living on a farm without a cord.

That’s not the point. They look for a simple life and compromise. In this day you don’t have to compromise, we have the tech that allows you to produce and store your own power so it’s not about any compromise on standard of living. We will be held prisoners to the utility cos just like we are now held by Big Oil.

For a world society to work – it must compromise.

You want India and China with suburban McMansions like we have in the USA? That won’t work. They have to shoe-horn into massive apartment complexes, families living in 900 sq foot apartments, etc.

Those who say you don’t have to compromise – well, that’s the problem – you aren’t looking at it from a world perspective. Buying solar and an EV for our rich American lifestyle doesn’t solve world problems.

What the hell are you talking about? Have you actually been abroad? Solar panels are not a luxury item in the developing world, they are a necessity. And don’t get philosophical with me about compromising, i was clearly referring to solar and storage solutions and not to work migration or any other social phenomena that moves masses to cities. The prices we pay here are very far from fair prices paid elsewhere. Germany had a third of the price we pay here in US for solar install.

“For a world society to work – it must compromise.”

You mean, we as individuals must all compromise to live together in a working society.

Yes, we must all abide by the social contract that exists where we live, but I absolutely do not agree that the American social contract includes having to support a monopoly. If the monopoly cannot compete in a new market, then — like “Ma Bell” when push-button phones made competition with the Bell Phone companies possible — it should go out of business.

Society didn’t collapse with the breakup of Ma Bell, and it won’t collapse from local utilities having real competition from home solar power systems.

Companies, just like species of plants and animals, must adapt to new conditions or die.

Agree with some of the others saying most places have a law requiring utility connection.

So, put your Tesla battery on the other side of a generator transfer switch and connect your solar array to the battery. You now can run your home off your power and when the sun isn’t cooperating with your usage, turn the battery connection to the grid off and let the grid carry your load and recharge your battery. More to it than this, but the concept is valid.

That’s a good point. On the hottest days here in Texas, our electric companies will send text messages offering to pay us from about $0.50 to $0.75 per kWh saved. That’s a value based on how much it’s going to cost them to run peeker plants for a few hours. To your point, it shows how net metering is a huge cost benefit to the grid since solar rooftop owners essentially pay full daytime costs for their nighttime usage.

It doesn’t mean the grid could handle having everyone having rooftop solar, but not everyone owns a home and not every home has a good south facing roof anyways.

peakers can go $1000-$1500 during conditions mentioned especially of wind is low.

(I worked in electricity trading for awhile.)

There will be some really interesting legal arguments. I can see the utilities point of view that if a large enough percentage of a municipality’s population reduced their electricity usage by 90% or more through rooftop pv panels then in order to make any profit and pay off their investments in their existing power plants then they would have to raise rates for those that don’t. In the extreme if they didn’t have enough revenue they would have to be bailed out in order to keep the lights on. If they made rules where the utilities could buy excess power generated from rooftop solar at low rates and sell back at normal rates they could still be foiled if homeowners installed smaller systems that took care of their daytime needs and stored the rest in batteries for night effectively leaving the homeowner with no excess power to sell. They could force everyone to at least pay a flat utility tax to cover infrastructure costs but that is it. Looking at the situation from that point of view it seems like the utilities may have a rock solid case against home rooftop solar at least for systems larger than a certain… Read more »

My utility already charges a $15 per month fee to net-meter.

They are proposing a demand charge equal to $10 per kW of peak use in the summer, and $3 in the winter.

For a heavy electric user like me, that “fee” could end up close to $200, or almost as much as my bill would be without solar.

Because of this, I’m debating finding a way to unplug and fight the legal battles that would result. Who cares about round trip losses when your fees total more than your original bill…

Seems like the law of unintended consequences. They want to increase fees to make solar LESS attractive, but they are also making home storage MORE attractive. Pushing people to go completely off-grid means they get 0$ instead of a few dollars every month.

An added bonus for going off-grid is that your solar panels don’t have to shut off when a tree branch falls on a power line during a storm. So it’s not like grid connected solar is completely pain free anyways.

What are you thinking about? Their next push will be to demand to their friends at the PUC of each States to mandate fees for each kWh of storage you will acquire and they will obtain it as almost every PUC exist only to protect the Profits of Utility Companies, that is the real meaning of PUC!

Utility companies can go suck it. They should be investing in renewables from now so they can scale back fossil fuel burning plants. Why they still continue to invest in these is beyond me.

This is not how it gets done. You cannot blast the nation’s largest and most effective machine (the grid) because they do not do what you or a small group want them to do. Get public utility commissions to guide them. Trying to say they are “big and bad” is like saying restaurants want you to get fat and they all should be closed. The grid is a major reason we are all alive. Our parents had an easier life because of it. It allows populations to gain economies. If everyone was running their own personal micro-grid, that is not a community good and that costs the most to go “off-grid” and to “isolate” away from a nationally viable and sound solution. If many people were not on the CO2 is bad band-wagon, then they wouldn’t say the above statement about how “bad” the grid is. The grid is a community good. Go turn off the feed to NYC and see how much they long for their power. Go disconnect nursing homes, hospitals – and you get what happened in New Orleans during Katrina. This is a long, decades long, march to change the nation and the world. Yelling about… Read more »

Evolve or die, bro. There are many inventions throughout the course of human history that directly supported human life for a finite period and are no longer around. The Grid is no different. We now have a better mousetrap and those in control are blocking the better mousetrap.

We no longer use horses for transportation, live in the Now..

The cost to put every household on their own power supply source is ridiculously high. The grid works.

The problem is not that, the problem is that the grid is based in centralised power plant production which was a good compromise in the last century, but which is not any-more. Decades long utilities doesn’t want to loose their business model at all, and you are right, they will do all they can to impeach that. In a wise civilization, PUC and State lawmakers who actually really care about consumers and citizen getting the best compromises would mandate utilities to change their business model (helping them if necessary). The best compromise is really to conserve some base load capacity with States to help financially to shut down old fossil fuel plants and replace them with wind/solar/hydro big plants with massive battery storage and take the help of residential/commercial storage and renewable energy production to make a balanced grid, far most efficient and that will cost much less in the medium term. Utilities have to understand that their future will no more be in producing all the energy needed, but it will be in being grid managers, with far less big plants, no more peakers, but a lot more of grid engineering. The possible up-going cost of more grid managerial… Read more »
Peaking plants cover the rare hot days as part of an extra source of power. Those are outlier conditions. But the movement to “get everyone off the grid” so they can handle conditions like war or other super-edge conditions is beyond the ideal of peaker plants. Every can and should supply some of their own power. First, conserve. Don’t waste power (we all waste some, and many waste a lot). Then, install maybe 2kw on every home that has good sun. Do that with government supplmentation and low-cost USA-made products (let’s not fund China through all of this). The benefit is that the daytime peaks might be smoothed out by a few thousand MW nationally. But Solar is not the only answer. Take a look at the PJM regulated power mix right now. It is one of many regions of power management in the country. How much renewables and also look at solar – how much is that contributing to our demand? We have a lot of work to do. You don’t replace TW of instant power demand in a decade. Or three. Will take decades of constant change. And don’t forget that most Solar PV inverters need replacement… Read more »

“The cost to put every household on their own power supply source is ridiculously high. The grid works.”

The question is this: Which is better, a centralized system, or a distributed one?

The answer depends on the technology. Dial telephones needed centralized control, and large central phone connection centers. Contrariwise, cell phone service works just fine with a distributed system; cell towers instead of large centralized switching systems.

Certainly the idea that every building should generate its own solar/wind power isn’t a viable solution; that won’t work for multi-story apartment buildings, offices, or large commercial/industrial buildings.

But community/neighborhood power collection and distribution systems might well be more cost-effective, either now or in the near future, than traditional electric utilities. As with telephone service, which is better depends on the technology available.

Community power works – to a degree but every township, city, municipality and so on have one problem. People. The local governments control land access, construction, and other aspects of the community. To do anything, the right people first need to lobby, run and be voted in. This is hard.

If Ford had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said, “A faster horse.” Change is good, but requires fairness.

well said, Bonaire, +1

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“The main argument from the utility company lobbyists is that with less people using traditional power, the state’s power prices will have to go up. ”

Prices are cheaper on low demand times right?
If demand is low (a surplus) where peak is expected shouldn’t price be less?

It’s ll a racket!

My intent is to buy land prop up my new home and go off grid with solar and energy storage units in a small container unit.

Because fixed (non-fuel) costs will be spread among fewer people.

This is why as an investor I would not buy stock or bonds of utilities that are overly reliant on fossil fuels or are resisting renewables.

Their revenue base is going to decline but their fixed costs – mostly debt financed – will be a big problem.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

So when housing developments pop up 800 new homes does the cost spread to them and our rates get less expensive?


Fixed costs don’t get spread out to those 800 new homes much because there are exponentially more incremental fixed costs to connect those 800 homes (more transmission lines, more customer service people, etc.), than if 800 homes go off the grid. Sure the utility can fire customer service staff, but those transmission lines will still need to be maintained and/or removed. If removed they still have to pay the debt they took out to build those transmission lines.

Solar has actually already helped electric companies REDUCE fixed costs in a number of ways: 1) Every kWh of electricity produced at peak demand keeps electric companies from having to invest in high cost poor return peaker plants to generate enough electricity to meet relatively short peak demand windows. 2) When I produce electricity from my own roof that I consume directly in my own home at peak demand hours to run my AC, that is a cost reduction in costs for Grid expansion. I’m taking demand off of the grid, reducing their fixed costs they would otherwise need to cover grid expansion and maintenance. 3) When I over-produce electricity and it goes to my neighbors at peak demand, I’m helping reduce the utility company’s overhead for BOTH peaker plants and grid. Normally they would have to use the grid to deliver electricity to my neighbor, but thanks to me they don’t. The electricity doesn’t even go through the local transformer. It just goes from my service line to their service line. Of course the utility company still charges m y neighbors the full grid demand charge, even though there wasn’t actually any grid usage. ____________________ After I’ve saved them… Read more »

Oooops! Forgot number 4!

4) I’m saving the electric company money they would otherwise have to spend to build cleaner electricity production in order to meet cleaner pollution targets so that our city/region/state can avoid fines and penalties for violating clean air standards. The electricity companies get to count customers’ solar installs as part of their grid mix in order to meet grid mix requirements. If I didn’t up-front the cash to install my system, they would have had to up-front the cash to build out their own system to meet these clean air requirements.

Yes, the math certainly indicates that.

What the simple math analysis ignores is that monopolies tend to be inefficient, because they don’t have to compete with anyone. Faced with real competition, a monopoly — and electrical utilities are local/regional monopolies — should be able to increase efficiency and trim costs. If it can’t, then perhaps it should go out of business, to be replaced with a new company — or, in the case of a utility, a new management team — which can compete.

Instead of complaining, have you been to a PUC meeting? Written your lobbying organizations on how they can actually sell more power?

A move from a gas car (refineries generate their own electricity on site) to an EV moves that 4-5 kWh of refinery generated power per gallon of gas to the resident who then uses grid-power to charge their car. You will now be buying more power from the grid operators if you get an EV. There, they now can sell you night-time kWh from the grid and make more money rather than spinning generators during the lull and not selling some of the power.

Governments and commissions are not smart. Educate them. Attend meetings and raise questions. The state energy ombudsman works for you and can help guide groups into getting things done.

Please do explain why you think the commission members are not in utility’s pocket… I’m not sure where you are from but in Cali what the utility wants is what the utility gets. If you are interested go read about it, lots of material was published by LA and San Diego papers in the last years.

You live in CA, run by “Moonbeam” Brown. The place is a disaster and so yeah – you got that going for you. And good weather. Sorry but the rest of the country is doing fine – CA is another matter.

Cali provided me with enough to retire in my 30’s if i wanted so excuse me for mot buying your BS! If you think this is not one of the greatest states in terms of financial opportunity then you must be living somewhere deep in redneck country where Fox is all you get OTA on your tv.

It is a state filled with tech companies who supply addictive products to the world. You’re rich because of this. From Facebook to other products – wealth comes from pulling wealth from many others’. Like banks make money from interest and bets – tech companies make addictive products that millions get sucked into – and the richess of the stock market bets for these products allows some people to prosper. You’re lucky, smart and put it all together. You are rare and blessed. Some of your riches came at others’ expenses, whether small or large.

Fiscal condition 43rd of 50.

The success of CA in general (turning temperate desert into human living conditions) and adding lots of debt to prop of self-interest projects means there is a good amount of risk. Similar to NY. Sales tax is elevating and is one reason the state keeps on moving forward – soon 10, 10.5, maybe 11%?

LOL…that’s what you come up with to support your argument? Sale tax?

Ever notice how people who don’t like him, call him Moonbeam, and the people who do call him Jerry?

Yeah, we noticed.

Refineries do NOT generate or use 4-5 kWh of electricity per gallon of product. It’s more like 0.1-0.2 kWh.

Almost all the energy used for refining is low-grade thermal energy, unsuitable for generating electricity.

The irony of wanting to educate others and getting educated instead. 😛

Old myths die hard.

Include the kWh of BTU to find the oil, drill it, bring it out into pipes or traincar, ship it, then refine it then ship it again, store, and deliver. You’ll be well over the 4kWh of contained energy from well to tank.

Get the grid operators involved and they will sell more EVs just by explaining the change in well to wheels energy profile to consumers and to charge at night during the lull in grid power.

The logic of fewer customers = higher bills for everybody else does not work at all. Does the power company provide a credit now when major housing or business developments are added to the grid? NO!

If you look at the USA power profile of demand since 2000, the primary loss of demand was due to factory shutdown and jobs shipped overseas.

The fight against solar roofs precedes Tesla and is aimed at all solar power, all wind power for that matter, as it aims to cut the net metering concept behind all sustainable, non-utility power.

What is missing is the fact that bogus argument that solar power net metering penalizes the “poor” who can’t afford solar is a cynical ploy that originates with ALEC. the right wing American Legislative Exchange Council, one of the Koch Bros. operations whose principle, supported by the GOP Supreme Court, that corporations are people and that $1=1 vote, affirmed by Citizens United decision by Supreme Court.

The attack on sustainable energy, on a sustainable future, succeeds wherever GOP is elected.

For example of ALEC’s success in fighting against solar power, here’s one of their successes in Nevada.

ALEC, GOP, religious groups, Murdoch’s (Tesla’s new board member) strategy is to use the industry controlled “Public Utility Boards” to issue rules vs. trying to get legislation passed.


(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I recall Florida residents are screwed when it comes to solar as well.
Big bad utility companies have the paid for corrupt politicians in their pockets.

Yes we are screwed in FLORIDA…we have surpassed 410 ppm of CO2 not good folks time is running out and our governor is owned by fossil fuel industry.

They voted not to give exclusive rights to utilities so FL is still ok…for now.

What’s with the always ridiculous desire of some of the authors to try and relate things always to Tesla?

This is for not just Tesla but also all the other manufacturers and installers of solar, wind, i.e. alternative non utility provided energy sources.

No wonder there are so many rabid Tesla fanboys here. The authors truly foster the environment.

Maybe there’s a quota of Tesla articles per day that has to be meet.

Perhaps it’s because Tesla brings more attention to these matters than almost anyone else. Yes, solar roofs aren’t anything new, lots of companies have tried…but the rollout for them wasn’t a huge event on a Hollywood set.

Well it is an “Inside EV” website and Tesla is the herd of elephants in the room vis a vis EV’s so natural Tesla dominates the EV “news”.

This is an electric car website. Tesla is the only electric car maker who also has a large solar panel wing of their company.

If GM had a huge solar panel business that was impacted by these events, and Tesla didn’t, then GM would be the center of the story about the impact of these lobbyists.

GM doesn’t, and neither do any of the other major car makers. So naturally they aren’t part of this story and Tesla is. If you have a problem with that, perhaps you should be asking why GM isn’t investing in solar, instead of complaining about stories about what Tesla faces in their investment into solar.

Sadly, you are too invested in bashing Tesla at every opportunity to figure this out for yourself.

Hmmm, I think DJ has a point here.

The article says “There’s no doubt these utilities are out to kill rooftop solar…” As a generality that’s probably an overstatement, but at least in some cases that’s probably completely true.

But the intro to the article says “traditional utility companies are lobbying against Tesla’s Solar Roof…”

And that is simply not true. Tesla’s Solar Roof isn’t being singled out by either regulators or lawmakers. The discussion in comments here, quite rightly, has been about home solar power systems vs. utilities in general… and not specifically about Tesla’s Solar Roof tile systems.

It’s time for Tesla to get into the Utility Business. Maybe a spin off SolarCity as a Nation Wide Utility company. They need to stop the Utility monopoly. Competition keeps rates low.

Volt#671 + BoltEV

Tesla would have to build a whole lot of power lines, if they were to run a traditional utility. That’s why electric utilities are regulated monopolies.

“It’s time for Tesla to get into the Utility Business.”

They already are in Kuwai. From the article:

“Tesla has signed a 20-year contract with Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to sell electricity at 13.9 cents per kWh, which is about 10% less than Kauai paid previously for diesel power plant (15.48 cents).”

GO TESLA GO save humanity.

If the argument that solar panels on some houses cause residence of other houses to pay more then you have the basis for a new lawsuit that will bring in billions of tax dollars. Every time a religious organization gets a tax exempt status every person In that community must pay more and property taxes to make up for lost of revenue. In essence every person is supporting every religious organization in your community, regardless of your religious believe if any. A decision again solar panels is also a decision against exempting religious organizations from a massive property tax relief.

Child tax credit – anyone having children should have their taxes raised – “for the community”. of course, stopping having children torpedoes all future economic growth.

Churches do good. Have you been to one? Many times, they provide help to people in need, give to many local and international organizations and somehow, the value of that tax break allows them to buy products, hire people and spend that tax savings in the local community. My state sales tax goes to cities I may never go to.

So what’s your favorite televangelist?

I have no idea who the televangelists are. Churches are community that is not enforced through writ and law of a government body who’s primary decree is to keep their system going, use it or lose it budgets and fee structures.

Home schooled kids tend to also be church goers and I’ve met a lot of quality people coming out of that world. Sure, some of their beliefs are off the wall (don’t get me started on “New Earthers”). But as people, I would enjoy being in community with Church folks than pure science folks.

God created Science. How we fight the battle of who is right about what – I think He/She/It/They laugh at our nonsense.

“God created Science”
…to prove he doesn’t exist. The day is coming!

I don’t know if he/she/they…it(you are right, it could be an artificial intelligence) laugh about our nonsense, but almost for sure, they might cried a lot about our so many times moments of lack of humanity.

I agree, many religious organizations do much more for the needy in the community more efficiently than your tax dollars ever will. I go to church every Sunday. But many of these religious organizations have created billions of dollars in wealth. Church and state are supposed to be separate. Giving a tax break to religious organizations amounts to requiring every person who pays taxes to support religion. All organizations and businesses should pay their fair share of property taxes.

Tiered tax laws for churches and ministers is VERY MUCH something I would like to see. Including those ministries that are “prosperity ministries” (guy in Houston, Osteen)

“Giving a tax break to religious organizations amounts to requiring every person who pays taxes to support religion.”

We give tax breaks for charitable donations. You can deduct donations from your income when figuring income tax.

Allowing deductions for that, but then putting a tax on the charitable organizations themselves — and that includes churches — seems at the very least inconsistent, if not downright mean-spirited.

But I would like to see greater scrutiny of what qualifies as a “church”. If it’s not a real religion, but just pretending to be one for tax purposes (Scientology, for example), then arguably it should not receive the same protection as a real church or a real charitable organization.

And it’s not like it’s that hard to tell the difference; either the church actually uses a large portion of its income to help those in need who are not church members, or it doesn’t. Real churches do.

“A real religion”?
Hold on, let me get my popcorn and make myself confortable before you start explaining what the criteria will be in determining which is real and how we test them.

You might try reading the final paragraph of the post you’re supposedly responding to. No esoteric theological tests required.

It loading slow sometimes….
I say we gather all religious heads and make them call out for God…see who it comes to.

My power provider is very small innovative company that grew out of a former REMC. They now encompass power, telephone & internet (all fiber to to prem). They encourage solar. They currently pay us retail for the excess energy we produce and retail for the energy we use. Residential is not charged differently for peak or off peak but can get a small discount for allowing remote peak metering of electric water heaters. In order to allow those who do not have the space or cannot afford the upfront cost of home solar they operate a solar farm “cooperative”. Members can effectively buy panels on the farm and the receive the energy and coresponding SEREC credits those panels produce. The utility takes care of installation and maintenance. Overall cost is a little more than having them on your own roof but entry cost is much lower and size and panel placement is optimized. The utilities don’t have to be counter to solar.

It’s wonderful to see at least one electric utility working to support community solar power systems, instead of fighting against them.

Here’s hoping that approach will spread!

The worst thing is losing narrative control. Last EV article I read sounded off, for Bloomberg. I don’t expect from them what I do the Wall Street Journal:

John Lippert comes from stints at Detroit Free Press, and GM. WSJ allows comments. Bloomberg does not, and lets its authors share twitter handles. No discussion. Just “truth” that people accept, because after all it was a somewhat Progressive place where they got it.

Solar faces a ground game. Heartland institute writes letters in the purple adoption states. At the risk of clicks:

I appreciate so much more what Twitter has done to this country’s ability to listen. Story comment sections are dwindling, and one off opinionated spins (Bloomberg article) are increasingly accepted as journalism.

Net metering is an easy, simple scheme for a few enthusiasts. It does not scale. The cost-shifting becomes egregious by 10% penetration and breaks down completely as you move higher.

I’m not interested in 1% solar. I want 50%, maybe even 80%. It’s possible with EVs, Ice-AC and other dispatchable loads. It’s not even remotely possible with net metering.

Solar proponents need to look beyond current tariffs and their own pocketbook to a world with 50-80% solar. Where power is almost free at noon (when your rooftop panels hit max), very expensive from 6-10pm (when your panels put out very little) and mid-priced overnight. We can get there in a couple decades, sooner in places like the SW US. But we can’t get anywhere near there with net metering and fighting to keep it only bogs down the process.

Kind of paleo lifestyle there and its wrong on its basics anyway as power surgery at 7AM and says high with the “peak” round 4-8PM but the “peak” is nothing like the initial surgery at when…ta da…the sun comes up and powers the base demand with the solar power rising with the base load power demand.

Modest battery storage at each home and business with solar panels provides the “peak shaving” to avoid need for expensive fossil fuel powered peak load plants.

The public interest is in NO EMISSIONS, SUSTAINABLE power and that has to be the main priority for public utility commissions.

The “favors those who can afford it” argument is bogus as it applies to everything from home ownership to ALL tax deductions. If the ALEC GOP right wingers want to lobby against net metering, then they’d be lobbying against all personal and business tax deductions…but they don’t.

Again…the key is cutting emissions…if it cuts emissions..then its public interest warrants the tax break or net metering regulations.

The GOP argument is based on GOP’s claim that climate science is bogus.

What’s “paleo” about EVs and Ice-AC (e.g. Ice Bear:

I can’t follow your peak surgery comments. Peaks come in the evning, 5-6 hours after PV panel output peaks. Demand curves are easily accessible:

If a homeowner wants to disconnect from the grid, terrific. If he wants to use the grid, he needs to pay for it. If he wants to sell power to the grid, he should receive the same rate as other seller (wholesale TOU rate). And he should understand daytime rates will decline over time as solar penetration increases.

The goal isn’t to reduce CO2 at any cost, the goal is the reduce is cost-effectively. 3 cents/kWh from utility-scale projects in the SW US are 3-4x more cost effective than residential rooftop. Again, if people want their own PV systems they should get the same tax breaks as the big solar farms do, but they should also get paid the same rates.

Demand curve of the east-coast PJM is online and real-time with 5pm peak. This is different than CA where peak there is 5pm-9pm when people return home from work and turn on their AC as the day progresses and fire up the stove for dinner (AC works harder fighting cooking heat). Since CA is a populated temperate desert – the issue comes down to “people want to make a desert into a synthetic wonderful place to live – and that takes power. Blessed this year with rains for the hydro plants or things would be pretty bad.

“What’s “paleo””

The “get rid of net metering first” line. Net metering is entirely justified as the power goes into the grid and is sold by the utility at no cost to the utility. It should be used to credit home owner at full retail for the homeowners usage in months where he generates less than he uses.

“Net metering is entirely justified as the power goes into the grid and is sold by the utility at no cost to the utility. It should be used to credit home owner at full retail for the homeowners usage…” No. Fairness is a two-way street, and no matter how “green” the power is, the power company is a business, and has to make a profit to stay in business. Basic economics such as supply and demand are at work here. It may make sense to pay full retail when solar power systems are rare, and society in the form of State or County or Municipal governments, or the Board of Public Utilities, wants to encourage installation of home solar power systems. But when there are so many people providing solar power to the utility that the supply vs. demand curve becomes a “duck curve”, with the utility being supplied or even over-supplied with power, then it’s not fair — or more to the point, it’s not realistic to expect the utility to continue to pay full retail price. A realistic price would be a wholesale price, not a retail price; home owners don’t have to pay workers to maintain the… Read more »

Complete ALEC FUD BS there Doggy.

Net metering is a net benefit to the grid and society as a whole:

Of course, we need to support the grid for the near future and I have no problems doing that at a REASONABLE fee, but eventually electricity will morph into a distributed grid model and the larger interconnected grid will probably become obsolete.

There’s big difference between a reasonable fee which i fully agree with and an outrageous fee which many utility cos are charging. I’m ok paying the $10/month that i pay now but others have to pay $20/month or more…how is that fair? What are we paying here? For the grid maintenance or to cover lost profits? If anyone wants to pretend they don’t know what i’m talking about then just check the stock performance of your favorite utility….hint…there is a direct correlation between the price increases on customers and the stock performance. This is the main issue here, public cos are under constant pressure to increase their stock price and they do that through mainly increasing their revenue and that money comes straight out of your pockets…and they will grab more and more each year.

Get Real – how many of the studies quoted in your article have you actually read? I’ve read enough to know what they say, and they agree with me. Here is the money quote from the Nevada study (page 10, “Overall, NEM generation moderately increases total energy costs, primarily because large-scale, utility-sited renewable generation is a lower cost resource.” Bingo. NEM systems increase total energy costs because it costs more than utility-scale solar. And since NEM decreases costs for the generally wealthy participants, by definition it increases costs even more for everyone else. This increase is only “moderate” because NV penetration is very low in the period studied. Run the numbers for 50% penetration, or even 20%, and they are anything but “moderate”. But if NEM increases costs, how does it produce a a “benefit”? Because (p7): b) the RPS policy places a large value on distributed solar generation installed during this time period. The 2.45 multiplier on RPS credits from solar self-generation installed prior to 2016, ……. Read that carefully. The “benefit” comes entirely from an artificial 2.45 multiplier added to the RPS. The study concludes NEM is a benefit because RPS is hardwired to show a benefit.… Read more »

Dude!. Stop. There is no “Nevada Study” it is a PR produced by ALEC and you can go their website and read its original.

It is a POLITICAL argument against solar power based on “disbelief” in climate science and a detailed POLITICAL argument for the power companies to use at easily influenced, sympathetic public utility commissions because it can’t get past even GOP legislatures.

ALEC is opposed to building a sustainable energy future (among other things).

I was not quoting from your ALEC piece. Follow my link. It’s a very pro-NEM piece commissioned by the Nevada PUC in 2014. A group out of San Francisco (hardly Koch territory) wrote it. They bent over backward to find “benefits” for NEM, but were honest enough to admit the truths I excerpted in the text.

Your entire arguments boils down to ignoring the facts I present and calling me a shill for ALEC. Until you present something of substance, I’m done with you.

You are cherry-picking Doggy.

You must have ignored these links contained in the report:

And of course the link that best explains the issue here–outdated and ineffective utility business models;

It is easy enough. Separate grid owners and producers, so you get one bill for the cost of keeping up the grid and another one for buying/selling electricity.

Then every producer no matter how small or big get payed the spot price at the moment of generation for the electricity that they put into the grid.

People who generate electricity by their own solar panels should of course pay their fair share of the grid and also get payed what the electricity is worth when it is generated.

First of all, get rid of all kinds of net metering, that is just a big part of the problem.

Oh, and of course everyone who wants to should be able to put up solar on their own roof. No bans and no utility monopolies.

Absolutely. And it should not “require” net metering either. You can just lower your bill by adding solar. With install costs of about $2/Watt – this is not a problem. And the less incentives available, the less “add-on” the installers will have on the project. This is when real markets happen.

I am definitely expecting my local PUC to change from Net meting over to Gross metering (pay wholesale only) or remove transmission/distribution payments (for the wire management). But the reason the PUCs and so on have Net Metering is to “attract new customers”. Remember when sales people would say “you can make a ton of money selling SRECS!!!” to get a sale?

Problem with “first of all get rid of net metering” is there is no second of all. You will never see your other suggested proposal.

And you can’t really separate the power generation plant from the sale of the power.

And there’s no reason the utility could not build solar, wind power plants with battery storage and bill for that as they currently do for fossil plants. In fact, many utilities do this and get paid a premium for it by customers signing up for it.

Real solution is require the utilities to provide sustainable power from wind and solar and use battery storage.

The real solution is already implemented by some utility cos and it’s home battery storage that is half paid by the utility and half by homeowner with the utility controlling the storage. I think this is a fair compromise.

And how would this promote solar power installs? Point of net metering is to promote solar power installation. The ALEC/GOP/fossil fuel industry argument against it is based on opposition to sustainable energy.

Like any tax or regulatory subsidy (child tax deductions, EV tax credits, home mortgage interest deduction) to achieve a goal it encourages the actions it subsidizes and rewards those who do it and is paid for by everyone because it benefits everyone, not just the person who, in this case, installs the solar system.

None of this makes any sense. With the addition of EVs, the grid becomes woefully inadequate and would require a major overhaul.

My household (no EV but plenty of toys + HVAC) uses about 20KWhs/day. If I added 2 EVs, that would increase by 200-300%.

So why would the utilities complain about local generation since it negates the need for huge upgrades?

200-300% seems like a lot. Do you drive many times more than the average driver?

The average EV driven by an average mile driver would increase your electricity use by ~70% if you had two such cars.

The average of my last 2 month consumption is 22kWh/day with one ev. Stop leaving the fridge open, F150!

My household is doing ~44 kWh per day. 😛

And you live in one of the Northern European countries, is that right? So in theory, you use central air conditioning rather little?

You must have a really big house. Is it a mansion? Or are you perhaps running an internet server farm in your basement?

No, it is a fairly small house, 80 m² times two (livable basement).

Most of it goes to heating the house and water via a groundsource geothermal heatpump. Cold winters take its toll even though the house is well insulated (tripple glas windows, double front doors, well insulated attic etc.).

Everything is electric, from heating and a sauna to cooking to garden tools (love my robot mower) and two EVs.

All lights being LED including TV/computer screens.

I do have a second old freezer that should be replaced by a more energy efficient one and should look into solutions to re-circulate and/or recover warm water energy. But other than that I would need professional help to cut a lot more.

Oh…and not air-con. The summer nights are generally cool enough even on the few days of the year when days are really hot. And the basement is cool enough even during the day if you need some relief from heat.

I will probably go for comfort cooling via the groundsource heat pump when it is time to replace the heat pump because of old age (hopefully many years from now, it’s been running like a clock with no maintenance or manual input for about 15 years now).
That was not an option when I got it.

It also helps a bit with efficiency during the winter season if you have pumped down some heat into the drill hole during the summer period (but it will of course be a net increase in electricity consumption in total).

If your “~44 kWh per day” figure includes the energy cost of charging two plug-in EVs at home, then that explains why a small northern European home, especially one as optimized for energy efficiency as you say, would draw more power than the average American home (~30 kWh per day), even though the latter is a larger house.

The average US home uses gas for heat.

EVs with smart chargers don’t burden the grid. Quite the contrary, they allow us to more efficiently use the current grid, especially as we add more renewables into the mix. This is particularly true with V2G or V2H, but you don’t even need that – simple demand response gets you most of the way there.

BMW is running an interesting program. Check it out:

The JuiceBox people also have new smartcharger products. They allow a grid provider to “lower your charging speed” so that they can react as an aggregate to take charging cars off the demand cycle. Small scale now but eventually – could scaleup.

All cars should be able to slow down their charge rate if the grid says to do so – and be paid to do it.

For me, I only charge at night between 3am and 7am. Very little mid-day except weekends which has a much lower grid usage profile anyway and my solar PV offsets that mid-day demand.

Utilities don’t make money from selling power. They make money from investing in new generation and distribution infrastructure. See for a great explanation.

Convenient excuse for Elon to back out of the electricity generation game. He backed his relatives financially while he was still young and (relatively) dumb. They’ve abandoned ship now. Cars can be sexy. Rockets can be sexy. Flat things that absorb solar radiation to produce power? Not as much.

Do you see any sign that Tesla wants to abandon its attempts to sell solar roof tiles?

No, you’re just trying to generate FUD.

A common battle when new technologies begin to disintermediate the older ones. History tells us that the only successful path for the company or industry in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant due to technology is to INVEST in the new technology while they still have the cash flow to do so. Become the provider of choice in expanded new technologies while winding down over time the old.
Darth is absolutely correct.

Where did utility companies get this entitlement syndrome where they believe they are entitled to continually growing profits?

If I’m providing my electricity for my own use, and so do a bunch of other people, of source their profits on us are going to be less than before.

They still seem to think they should still get the exact same amount of profit off of me producing my own electricity as they did before when they provided it all. That’s the problem.

It’s written into the laws that established them. In exchange for not abusing their monopoly they are allowed a certain ROI, subject to review.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Yeah but who’s reviewing it and whose pocket are they in????

It isn’t just that they want to profit on what they do, they want to profit on what they don’t do too. For example, around half the cost of electricity on your home electric bill is transmission/grid costs for the electric company. But when I send my solar electricity to my neighbor during peak demand hours, they still charge my neighbor the same as if THEY had delivered the electricity across miles of grid. They didn’t. I delivered that electricity to my neighbor directly from my service line to their service line without even going through to the high voltage side of the transformer in my neighbor’s yard. They also want to charge me an addition grid fee, even though the electricity I produced and consumed in my own home during peak demand hours never touched the grid. The only time I use the grid is during off peak hours when I use spare capacity which has much less impact on the grid than if I didn’t have solar and both my neighbor and I had to have our electricity delivered on the grid during peak hours. They are effectively double charging for a single use of the grid during… Read more »
“When I send my solar electricity to my neighbor during peak demand hours, they still charge my neighbor the same as if THEY had delivered the electricity across miles of grid.” Who paid for the wires you’re using? And what happens to your argument when PV penetration hits 20% and the kWhs you generate backfeed through your neighborhood transformer onto the grid? And the utility has to upgrade that transformer to handle backfeed? Even though backfeed means they are getting negative net revenue from your neighborhood? This is what I keep saying. Pro-NEM arguments can sound reasonable at low penetration, but IT DOES NOT SCALE! “They charged my neighbor full price including grid charges as if they delivered the electricity across the grid for them.” First of all, “grid charges” are for availability, not usage. It’s not like you’re saving wear and tear on the grid by sending your kWhs to your neighbor instead of him getting them from a much more cost-effective solar farm 50 miles away. If you reliably supply your neighbor with peak kWhs 100% of the time, then what you say is true. But 99% doesn’t cut it. It’s the same as 0%. Second, almost all… Read more »
(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

OMHO, the biggest threat to the Tesla Solar Roof is the price.

“This “free” energy will have to be paid for by the customers that stick with traditional power.”

When my neighbors pay me back the thousands of dollars I pay in property taxes every year to send their kids to school, I’ll start listening to arguments about inequity.

Meanwhile, they can just suck up all the clean air they are getting to breath and be happy with it. Because I sunk my money into producing electricity much more cleanly than the local grid provider does. And they get to benefit from the cleaner air that me and my fellow solar panel owners paid to help provide.

Makes me glad for our deregulated utilities in Texas. In addition to the 30% federal tax credit, a utility company rebate (Oncor), one electric retail provider (Green Mountain) also gave me a a $3,500 rebate for signing a 1 year agreement with them

The rebates are not some liberal government mandate either. The utility is trying to avoid building peaker power plants. The electric provider rebate comes from other customers who CHOOSE TO PAY A LITTLE MORE to support clean power (perhaps who are unable to install solar roofs of their own). The beauty of a free market like this is that one electric provider can sell dirty power to the poorest people at promotional rates like $0.07/kwh and another can sell 100% renewable power at $0.11/kwh.

LOL you think there’s a free market in Texas, keep dreaming…you wouldnt last one day in a free market LOL. But if you are game…Somalia has a real free market and you can open carry anything you want. When are you going?

Okay, so he should have said “relatively free market” or “comparatively free market”. Did the omission of a one-word qualifier really justify you jumping all over him like that?

I think his point is that Texas has relatively unregulated utilities. I don’t know if that is the case; I don’t live there. But given the general “live free or die” attitude of Texans, it wouldn’t at all surprise me.

The horror story of what happened with over-regulation of California electric utilities causing skyrocketing electricity costs, several years back, is certainly a cautionary tale of why over-regulation can be a very, very bad thing!

A completely “free market” is a bad thing, as shown by (for example) the Standard Oil monopoly. But so is an over-regulated one.

“Moderation in all things, including moderation.” — Oscar Wilde

Wasn’t ENRON behind sky rocketing prices, run by Ken Lay a Dubya supporter? Ken Lay was on trial and then died if my memory serves me correctly.

Hmmm, okay: Skimming thru the Wikipedia article on “California electricity crisis”, it looks like I was mostly wrong on this point, and you’re right. I knew this was a politicized subject, but apparently the reports I read about the crisis were all politically slanted toward deregulation.

According to Wiki, part of the problem was State policies discouraging energy efficiency and the State capping prices, the latter of which helped create the regulatory situation allowing such large-scale market manipulation. But that was only a part of the picture.

According to the Wikipedia article on the crisis, it was partial deregulation — not over-regulation — which created the conditions which allowed the market manipulation which caused soaring electricity prices. And you’re right about Enron being at the heart of the manipulation, too.

Mister G, thank you for challenging my incorrect assertion. I learned something today! 🙂

The fact this article equates union organizing with car dealerships wanting to preserve state sanctioned monopoly power and no one pukes says a lot about this site.

What is wrong with you people?

That’s not what it says. Maybe you’re a bit too focused on the issue of unions vs. no unions?

The reason everyone’s bill has to go up isn’t because rooftop solar people won’t be using the grid. The reason is because the current subsidies require the utilities to buy rooftop solar power at inflated prices. If they pay more then they will pass the costs on to other customers. Everyone who doesn’t have solar will pay more than before to help pay the subsidies for rooftop solar.

As long as utilities are required to buy rooftop solar at inflated prices they will be opponents of rooftop solar. The only way to get everyone pulling for rooftop solar is to sunset the subsidies.

Everyone loves getting subsidies. And they do serve a purpose. But as solar becomes massively cheaper instead of solar being a flat-out bonanza for homeowners due to the subsidies the subsidies should be reduced proportionately.

“The reason is because the current subsidies require the utilities to buy rooftop solar power at inflated prices.”

No. The utilities pay what they charge, often less than they charge, the customer for the same electricity. That is now available to sell to other customers with no generation cost to the utility.

Net metering is not a subsidy, it is fair market value for the electricity.

” inflated prices”
By whom? They take my generated power at peak times and sell it to my neighbors at peak price while they return it to me at night off peak. Stop spreading their bs, unlucky!

“The only way to get everyone pulling for rooftop solar is to sunset the subsidies.”

Truth. It must happen sooner or later, and sooner in places where there are already a lot of home solar power installations. Perhaps later in other places.

But a lot of people here obviously don’t want to face that reality. Wishful thinking can be awfully seductive!

“The only way to get everyone pulling for rooftop solar is to sunset the subsidies.” Truth.”

Lies or, at best, faulty information.

People should be “pulling” for roof top solar, utility solar, wind farms, geo-thermal because we NEED TO SWITCH TO SUSTAINABLE POWER. We need to provide incentives for everyone to do it from home owner to the utility.

The science of global warming and pollution damage in general is what should have everyone responsible person pulling for sustainable power in every form.

Regulations requiring solar be installed on all buildings would be good. Solar City model of providing Lease or PPA options that require no cash or additional cost to property owner works well in this regard. The ability of Solar City and other installers to capture the incentives (rebates and tax credits) is a key incentive we need to provide.

For utilities, simply mandate that they switch to sustainable power options and this will be reflected in the rates paid by everyone and for good reason.

Electric utilities have had local/regional monopolies. Of course, now that their monopolies are being threatened by competition from solar power, they are whining and coming up with fear-mongering scenarios in an effort to get politicians to establish protectionist laws and/or regulations.

We should recognize this reality, and firmly ignore the propaganda. Electric utilities need to do what all companies do when faced with real competition: Update their operations to be more efficient and more competitive. Those utilities which can’t compete against solar power should go out of business, to be replaced by more efficient utilities which can compete.

One way that utilities can make operations more efficient is to install their own solar power farms, and also install energy storage systems. And since this article is in the context of one Tesla product, I’ll mention another: Tesla’s PowerPacks, which are being used for that purpose.

In other words: Instead of whining about the change, the utilities should adopt the old motto “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”

Wow, if news like that where to occur in the Netherlands the utility company in question would receive severe repercussions in the media.

It’s not done to argue against renewables using such methods!

In America? Maybe. But not worldwide. We don’t stifle great technology without good cause, overseas.