Time to Speak Up For Your Solar RightsBy Matthew Wheeland - September 17, 2010
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out and sign the Solar Bill of Rights. This petition got 30,000 signatures in three weeks’ time and is going to be delivered to to congressional legislators this fall, so sign it now. In a nutshell, it says that people have the right to (1) put solar on their house or business, (2) connect their solar energy system to the grid (this is still not available in many places), and (3) get paid for the energy they produce at a rate equal to retail electricity. Right now, homeowners with solar panels will typically get credited for the energy they’re feeding into the grid, but at a rate far below what it’s actually worth.
Full disclosure: this bill is being sponsored by the solar industry’s chief lobbying group and is ultimately an attempt to get solar as heavily subsidized as fossil fuels. We think that’s a perfectly good goal. Why? Because historically speaking that’s how all new sources of energy have come into widespread use in the U.S, including all the ones that fire our dirty ol’ grid today. Those subsidies, now entrenched, favor fuels that do this to the air we breathe. Solar is clean, renewable, and if properly subsidized would create about a squillion jobs in this country. Sign this bill.
Here’s what the Solar Bill of Rights says:
- Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses
- Americans have the right to connect their solar energy system to the grid with uniform national standards
- Americans have the right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates
- The solar industry has the right to a fair competitive environment
- The solar industry has the right to produce clean energy on public lands
- The solar industry has the right to sell its power across a new, 21st century transmission grid
- Americans have the right to buy solar electricity from their utility
- Americans have the right to – and should expect – the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry
The Solar Bill of Rights is motivated by the following facts:
- From 2002-08 fossil fuels got $72B in federal subsidies, while solar got $2B.
- 92% of Americans think it’s important to develop & use solar energy.
- Oil & gas operates on 13M acres of public land. Solar has been approved for 0.
- Each state has different standards for connecting solar to the grid.
- Not all solar customers are paid retail rates for excess electricity generated.