by Brent Sauser
With the recent power struggle (pun intended) between Elon Musk and the solar industry versus Warren Buffet and the Nevada power utility going in favor of the power utility monopoly, the question is what happens next? Since the decision came down a few months ago for folks with roof top solar to pay their “fair share” to support the power grid infrastructure, as well as getting slapped with a substantial reduction in the power sold back to the utility through net-metering, it appears for the recent future any progress in solar applications in Nevada have been placed on an indefinite hold. In fact, thousands employed in the Nevada solar industry are being laid off or transferred to other more solar friendly states to work. Will others states follow the example of Nevada?
With over 340 clear, sunny days a year in Nevada, leave it to those with a 20th century mentality to demand what, for them, is the mother’s milk of life . . . . more MONEY! It’s money above and beyond common sense; money at the expense of those who bought into the solar option based on rules that changed because of a threat to profits. I guess if that’s all that matters, you can never have enough, even when that means screwing with the good faith of those who spent their retirement money to help the environment and feel a bit of freedom from producing their own power. Instead of embracing the future, Nevada turned it’s back to the environment and renewable energy in favor of a monopoly that is whining because solar is cutting into the bottom line. And, leave it to them to cry foul when the solar industry packs up and leaves. They claim the solar industry backed the decision, but did so with a gun to their heads (figuratively speaking, of course). Leaving came as a total surprise to them. REALLY! When given the sorry option of supporting the changes or a moratorium on future solar installations would occur . . . what would you do?
This caused me to wonder about the progress of the Tessla Gigafactory in Nevada. It is progressing well as can be seen in the attached videos. I’d have to think that because of this new anti-solar legislation that Elon Musk will have to work extra hard to assure that the gigafactory is operable 100% off the grid. That way it will be exempt from the pushing and pulling of the public power utility. For that matter, the homes in Nevada with roof top solar can add storage batteries to capture the power that would otherwise be net-metered back to the utility. If their system is large enough to be a Net Zero installation there should be enough production capability to go off-grid without too much creature comfort sacrifice.
Politicians and greedy billionaires can slow down the renewable energy revolution, but they will never kill it. Common sense will prevail. As a roof-top solar owner, I am deeply interested in this phase in which we find ourselves. Will we return to the 19th and 20th centuries to preserve old, archaic business models, or look to a future that embraces sustainable and renewable energy resources. Considering the growing turmoil in the world, that decision may be made for us whether we like it or not!