What is really scaring utility companies is rooftop solar and net metering (the laws that allow solar powered homes to sell their excess power back to the electricity grid). They stand to lose as much as 41% in earnings if solar were to take over a mere 10% of the market. Right now solar represents only 0.4% of electricity in the U.S. but it’s growing—and fast. This explains the utility companies eagerness to jump on legislative reforms that either restrict net metering or tax solar panel owners and make the installation process more costly and complicated in order to moderate solar expansion. The U.S. has also implemented tariffs of up to 35% on Chinese solar panels which are generally where American solar companies buy their panels.
Utilities are also pushing for reforms in the governmental solar subsidies that are making the panels so affordable. With the amount of pollution and damage to the environment caused by traditional coal and natural gas, it might seem like cutting back on them would be a high priority. Coal still provides 37% of our country’s power, while natural gas provides 30% and nuclear provides 19%. However 7% is made by hydropower made by hydroelectric dams across the country, they generally provide small jolts of electricity (some making more power than others) but it is unlikely that the United States will invest in any more dams.
In short, the time for solar is now. For more information on solar controversies click here.