As we’ve been reporting on The Hayride, Big Solar has been very unhappy with a study recently released by the Louisiana Public Service Commission that shows that Big Solar has been ripping off Louisiana ratepayers and taxpayers. Instead of actually disputing the study’s conclusions, they’ve resorted to character assassination against Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and David E. Dismukes, the LSU professor who authored the study.
Whereas the other critics of the study have been based out of state, the latest Big Solar group who is whining about the study is actually based here in Louisiana. The Gulf States Renewable Energy Industires Association sent out a press release slamming the Dismukes study and the PSC for criticizing their corporate welfare.
“This study is a distortion of the truth, an assault on consumer energy choice and property rights by the monopoly utilities and certain allies on the Commission,” said Jeff Cantin, president of the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association. “Monopolies don’t like competition, and the state’s utility monopolies would like to mistreat their solar customers as wholesale power plants.
If Jeff Cantin owns a supermarket, I would like to see if he would go along with this deal. I grow tomatoes during the summer and I want to sell them. I’m not a farmer, but I do like to garden. Would Cantin buy my tomatoes from me at retail price? If not, why should utilities by energy from Big Solar at retail prices, which is essentially what Cantin wants? If utilities buy energy at retail prices, prices have to go up for other ratepayers to make up the difference.
Unfortunately for our citizens, Louisiana has some of the highest bills in the region.
That’s simply not true. Here’s a map from the Huffington Post of all places that shows how absurd this statement is. The more lightly shaded areas have more affordable electricity rates.
Louisiana actually has the second-lowest rates in the Southeast.
If monopoly utilities have their way in coming months, Louisianans will soon become completely captive to these bills, without the right to self-generate their own energy on their own private property for their own use,” says Cantin. “While many energy businesses are shedding jobs, solar is putting more people to work day after day, across Louisiana, serving hard-working families as employees and as customers.”
Nobody is calling for banning solar energy in Louisiana or banning self-generation. All those of who believe in free markets want is for you guys to stop getting state handouts for your industry. The way Big Solar is going on and on about how the utilities are conspiring to ban them, I’m also expecting to see press releases from these guys about chemtrails, how the moon landings were faked, and the World Trade Center twin towers were brought down in a controlled demolition on 9/11.
The Acadian study has been flagged by industry experts for its inconsistencies, including missing significant data. For instance, Acadian’s analysis factors in costs of solar without assessing benefits, and doesn’t refer to the fact that In Louisiana solar has created 1,200 direct jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs, according to a recent study by The Solar Foundation.
Here’s a table from the study that shows the overall cost to Louisiana taxpayers from 2008-2043 of the solar tax credit of currently installed solar systems.
Divide $195,500,000 by 1200 and then divide that by 35 years means that Louisiana taxpayers are paying $4,654.76 per solar job per year. Which means these solar jobs need to earn on average over $109,000 a year in order to pay the state back. Yeah, that’s not happening. Oh and these numbers are actually generous to Big Solar. The PSC projects the cost to the state is closer to $300 million when you factor in the industry’s projected growth.
If you don’t believe me on the salary, here’s the numbers courtesy of an online payroll calculator:
The press release went on to complain about how Energy was passing on $2 billion worth of rate increases due to a failed power plant, how other studies have shown that solar isn’t that costly, and how other states were expanding solar usage.
If these guys really want a free market energy and energy deregulation, let’s talk. However, they’ll have to give up the subsidies on both the Federal and state level.
Until they make the first moves in the subsidies, we can safely assume that Big Solar isn’t really interested in free market competition. They’re interested in rent-seeking and corporate welfare subsidies.
For the legislature, this should be an easy choice to make. The state budget deficit has to be closed one way or another. It seems that ending the solar tax credit scam would be an excellent place to start.