As Solar Power Grows, Dispute Flares Over U.S. Utility Bills
Electric power companies challenge “net metering” policies, saying nonsolar households end up with higher costs.
U.S. policymakers encourage and subsidize solar installations by allowing solar households essentially to run their electric meters backwards if they generate enough energy to feed into the grid. Each month, those households pay utilities less, sometimes much less, for energy. (See related blog post: "Time to Break Free of Net-Metering; We Need a 'FIT' Policy for Renewable Energy to Soar.")
These so-called "net metering" policies are adding up to a headache for electric company officials, who are watching monthly utility income shrink as more and more solar panels crown the homes in their service areas. (Take the related quiz: "What You Don't Know About Solar Power.")
Many solar advocates see this as a positive demonstration that renewable technology is on