California has stunned green advocates, by excluding rooftop solar from their renewable energy mandate.
According to the LA Times;
California’s aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don’t count.
If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn’t included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown.
That means rooftop solar owners are missing out on a potentially lucrative subsidy that is paid to utilities and developers of big power projects.
It also means that utility ratepayers could end up overpaying for clean electricity to meet the state’s benchmark because lawmakers, by excluding rooftop solar, left out the source of more than a third of the state’s solar power.
Owners of rooftop solar systems and their advocates aren’t happy about the policy.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-solar-subsidy-20151130-story.html
LA Times speculates that this shift in policy was due to pressure from utilities and unions – rooftop solar installers are not extensively unionised, compared to workers in large solar utility plants.
Whatever the reason for this unexpected development, one thing is clear; even über green California cannot be trusted to provide a stable renewables subsidy regime. If you invest in renewables, you’re taking a big risk.