solar–it’s not that simple

I love having solar power. It saves us money. It’s good for the environment. And on the hottest days we are helping to reduce the strain on the grid.

But like anything else, it’s not all that simple. A portion of the standard electric bill goes for maintenance of the infrastructure. If you’re on solar you don’t pay that for every kilowatt hour you use as everyone else does, and so the cost is borne by those who don’t have solar. Here and Now on NPR had an interesting analysis of this recently.

Last year the legislature in California passed a bill that, while promoting the expansion of solar power in the state, also allows the Public Utilities Commission to permit electric utilities to charge customers a monthly fee for infrastructure maintenance.

I’m fine with that. We are trying to do the Right Thing. We are not trying to freeload.