Energy Zombies: U.S. Utilities’ Political Clout Blocks Rooftop Solar
United States utilities’ attacks on rooftop solar resemble nothing more than the latest descent of the zombie hordes, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune wrote in a blog post last week.
“What’s actually got the utilities spooked is the prospect of an ever-increasing number of their customers generating their own solar power and reducing their power bills,” Brune writes. In response, “just like a zombie horde, they use tactics that are clumsy, somewhat brainless, and yet potentially effective.”
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The attacks generally involve some form of surcharge for solar customers, combined with claims that solar users are “freeloading” by using grid infrastructure to back up their home systems.
“There’s one big problem with this campaign against rooftop solar,” he writes. “Across the U.S., people love solar power.” So politicians who introduce hostile legislation “suddenly find themselves facing a crowd of angry constituents who want to know whether baseball, mom, or apple pie will be the next target.”
But Brune warns against ignoring the attacks on rooftop solar. “If enough of these bills were somehow to get passed, or if enough utility commissions were to adopt regressive fees, it could slow down the viral spread of solar.” That would lead to fewer clean energy jobs, more air pollution deaths, higher utility bills, “and of course, a harder time meeting our goals for cutting carbon emissions and stopping climate disruption.”