The head of Louisiana’s Big Solar trade group, GSREIA, is still at it. Last week, we pointed out how Jeffrey Cantin, GSREIA’s head, was blasting a PSC study that said Big Solar was ripping off taxpayers.
Cantin has now taken his hysteria to RenewableEnergyWorld.com, a website geared for the “green energy” industry. His article is essentially a rehash of his press release attacking the PSC, except he did drop the bit about Louisiana having among the highest electricity bills in the Southeast. As The Hayride pointed out, that wasn’t true.
Here’s the only new piece of information in Cantin’s article that he didn’t originally have in his press release:
Of course, these errors are expected when you consider the backroom political dealing that has been exposed by the national press. Utility monopolies and their well-funded Commission allies are, according to a new report in the Washington Post, colluding to derail consumer interest in energy rights and solar power. Louisiana is becoming a frontline for this monopoly-driven struggle over property and energy rights.
Not only are the monopolies using ratepayer funds to fight businesses, jobs, technology and choices the ratepayers want, but they’re using the ubiquitous anti-solar political action group, Americans for Prosperity, and all the fake data and scare tactics they can find.
Democrat donor Cantin takes the opportunity to attack one of the boogeyman of the left, Americans for Prosperity. All that’s missing here are attacks on ALEC, Americans for Tax Reform, the Koch brothers, and evangelical Christians.
What Big Solar and its supporters don’t understand is that those of us who oppose Louisiana’s solar subsidies aren’t anti-solar. I have no interest in banning solar and I haven’t met anyone else in this state who wants to ban it either. We are against the subsidies and requiring utilities to buy solar power at retail rates. If solar power can survive on the market without subsidies and mandates, more power to them.
It’s not just the utilities and AFP who are opposed to the current net metering mandates, the Electricity Policy Group at Harvard University are also opposed to them. Ashley Brown, who is its executive director, published an article calling for changes in net metering mandates.
By being paid the full retail value, rooftop solar users are being compensated for the not-insignificant cost of services that they do not provide, including the many services that are provided by utilities.
These customers are not operating outside of the power grid. They rely on the grid to sell back this extra power. The sun also does not shine all the time, so these customers must rely on the grid to get power at night and when it’s cloudy. Therefore, under net metering, residential solar producers are excused from paying their share of the costs of the distribution system, the grid, when energy is being produced on the premises.
Making matters worse, the costs avoided by those with rooftop solar and/or DG systems participating in net metering are usually reallocated to non-solar customers. There is no reason why distributed generation customers should receive free backup service, compliments of their neighbors.
Why should Big Solar and its customers, who tend to be wealthier than average Louisianians, be subsidized by poorer ratepayers? If I grow tomatoes, why should I demand the supermarket buy them from me at retail price? Why should Louisiana taxpayers subsidize an energy source that fails even in solar eclipses?
To keep Louisiana’s electricity rates among the lowest in the country, the legislature needs to look at this issue in the upcoming session. With a massive budget shortfall, the solar tax subsidies make an excellent place to start cutting.
If Big Solar is serious about free market competition, they need to lose the subsidies.