Solar Rights: Net Metering Under Attack

Solar Citizen: Building the renewable energy movement from the ground up!

In Baldwin County, Alabama, adding solar to your roof raises the cost of your utility bill. Photo courtesy of Jodybwiki

In Baldwin County, Alabama, adding solar to your roof raises the cost of your utility bill. Photo courtesy of Jodybwiki


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Solar Rights and Net Metering

Saving money can be straightforward sometimes:

  • You build a fire in your wood stove and reduce your heating bill.
  • You grow your own tomatoes and save on your grocery bill.
  • You produce your own solar electricity and save on your utility bill.
Producing your own power to save money on your electricity bill is made possible because of a process called net metering. Net metering allows a solar producer’s electric meter to “spin backwards” when they generate more solar power than they are using. Without net metering, you can’t reap the full benefits of your solar panel, since you aren’t compensated for the excess power that your panels produce.
"The fact that they are punishing us for producing our own power is ridiculous. It's un-American." -- Jeff Max, Baldwin County Resident

“The fact that they are punishing us for producing our own power is ridiculous. It’s un-American.”
– Jeff Max, Baldwin County Resident

 

Unfortunately, not all utilities or states allow net metering. Or, they have put all sorts of barriers in place to prevent homeowners from being able to net meter. 

For example, it is bad enough Alabama utilities only offer 4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for the solar you produce when the retail rate is 11 cents. But in addition to this raw deal, in Baldwin County, Alabama you have to pay an extra fee just because you are a solar customer!

 

This extra fee can end up doubling your electric bill over your pre-solar level. This is ridiculous! You should be able to produce your own homegrown power and reduce your electric bill! This 1:1 net metering should be a solar right!


TOOLS FOR ACTION: Protect the Right to Net Meter

The Baldwin County Electric Cooperative has made a mockery of net metering.  They have changed the way solar customers are categorized so that putting solar on your roof actually raises your electricity bill!

Click here to send a letter to Baldwin County telling them that solar deserves a fair deal.

Since Baldwin County prides itself on its sunny beaches for tourists, you might mention that you will be looking to other states for your beach vacation this year!

    "Baldwin County is Alabama's largest county, the one that depends on sunshine to draw tourists to the Gulf beaches. Their anti-solar stance appalls me."     -- Morton Archibald, President, Alabama Solar Association

“Baldwin County is Alabama’s largest county, the one that depends on sunshine to draw tourists to the Gulf beaches. Their anti-solar stance appalls me.”
– Morton Archibald, President, Alabama Solar Association


RESOURCES: Understanding Net Metering

Coalition for Solar Rights
New to net metering? This website from Vote Solar gives a good introduction to the basics and includes a great video.

Intro to Net Metering
Wikipedia actually has a pretty good overview of the concept of net metering, as well as a list of each state’s net metering policies.

Freeing the Grid
Freeing the Grid is a policy guide that grades all 50 states on two key renewable energy programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Check out your state’s grade and learn what can be done to improve net metering in your area.

DSIRE USA
Want to figure out the exact net metering rules where you live? This database is the source for you! Search “net metering” to find more info.


SOLAR CITIZEN PARTNERS

3-23SC-5-ASAAlabama Solar Association Alabama Solar Association (ASA) seeks to educate itself, the public, corporations, policy makers, and governments about the tremendous opportunities and rewards in utilizing the sun’s renewable energy.

3-23SC-5-AISIACME International Services, Inc. Located in Baldwin County, Alabama, Acme International Services, Inc. is a family owned business that is dedicated to offering the highest quality solar and alternative energy products and installation services at exceptionally competitive prices.

3-23nysesNY Regional Renewable Energy Conference Join the New York Solar Energy Society for their Regional Renewable Energy Conference & Expo on April 5th, 2013 in Troy, New York. The full-day event includes forums on solar financing, information about NY solarize programs, smart grids, and solar development in the state.

 

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