The Systematic Shutdown of Solar

The systematic shutdown of solar is being coordinated across the nation by state Public Service Commissions.  We here in Louisiana think we are being singled out by a vindictive commissioner that drummed up support from a couple of his partners.  Actually, this is part of a much bigger national assault being coordinated by the well-funded utilities.   Here is the latest sabotage happening in Nevada from a news article in Solar Industry magazine:

PUC Ruling Could ‘Retroactively Sabotage’ Solar Investments In Nevada

in News Departments > Policy Watch


The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has approved an order proposed by Commissioner David Noble that will implement new rates for NV Energy customers who participate in net energy metering.

The order will transition all small commercial and residential net metering customers to a cost-based rate structure over the next four years to eliminate what the PUCN calls “unreasonable” cost shifts between ratepayers without resulting in any additional profits to NV Energy.

Some solar companies have spoken out against the proposed decision, including SolarCity, whose CEO, Lyndon Rive, called it “reckless.”

“The decision would retroactively sabotage the investments Nevadans have already made in solar, even though they were encouraged by their government to make those investments,” Rive explained. He continued by saying that Nevada will “become the first state out of 44 with net metering to take a step backward, not forward.”

Specifically, the following changes are included in the order:

  • Separate ratepayer classes for all small commercial and residential net metering customers to ensure no cost shift to other ratepayers;
  • Excess energy produced through net metering systems (e.g., rooftop solar energy systems) will be compensated at the wholesale market rate;
  • An increase to the fixed charge and corresponding decrease to the volumetric commodity charge to reduce inequities among net metering customers;
  • An optional time-of-use pricing option to allow net metering customers to take advantage of energy generation that occurs during peak and off-peak demand periods; and
  • Incremental implementation of new rates over four years.

NV Energy will calculate the exact amounts of the rates based on the PUCN’s instructions. The new rates will be filed for final review within seven days of the order’s effective date.

Greg Butterfield, CEO of Vivint Solar, said, “The state of Nevada will lose jobs, economic output and consumer choice, while protecting the interests of an entrenched monopoly, NV Energy, and its out-of-state owner, Berkshire Hathaway Energy.”

Net Metering killed – It’s All About Control

IMG_9474sNet Metering killed – It’s All About Control

The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) is going to authorize $107,760 for a one time “study” to changing the rules of Net Metering. (We’re calling this Net Metering 2.0)  This dollar amount would buy 1,197,333 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity at $.09/kwh. That’s almost 1.2 Megawatts!  (I don’t know about you but I’d take the kilowatts over a study!)

We estimate that a small Louisiana solar home generates about 100 kwh of “excess” solar power a month. It is called excess only because it couldn’t be used at the time it was produced. (Most customers use it later in the day, just not that instant).  Why would anyone want net metering killed?

This wasted $107,760 “study” money is the same as 1000 solar homes giving away 100 kwh excess solar generation each month for a whole year!  Now, does that put this all in perspective for you?




Can DEMCO Legally Steal Solar?

theftCan DEMCO Legally Steal Solar?

Can DEMCO Legally Steal Solar?  This is the question many people are asking.  Any DEMCO homeowners that installed solar after July 13, 2015 have been told that they will no longer get true “net” metering.  (NET metering by law is where you are charged for the NET difference between what you produce with solar and consume)

The “net” meter will be installed by DEMCO, and the homeowner will be grid connected, but any instantaneous excess generation will be kept by DEMCO.  They have told their “members” that they aren’t doing net metering anymore since they reached 0.5% capacity per the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC).  Read it here:  demco net metering

Unfortunately, according to PURPA (the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978), utilities must, at a minimum, credit a producer of power the wholesale rate.  DEMCO says no.  DEMCO will take it and resell it at retail to other “members” without any credit to the solar owners that paid for the solar to produce the power!  Sounds illegal, right?

The Louisiana Solar Energy Society (LSES) along with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) filed a formal complaint with the LPSC over a year and a half ago (on July 28, 2014) to bring violations like these to light with other utilities.  (Almost a year and a half ago and a year before DEMCO did this)  Read here:

LSES Formal PURPA Complaint

The LPSC responded:

R-31417 Complaint Response Ltr 8-2014

What do we think they are doing?  Probably by ignorance of federal law they are pocketing thousands of solar homeowner kilowatts and reselling them to other members for profit.

What will happen next?  DEMCO will probably stall out responding to the complaints about this until the LPSC establishes new rules for Net Metering in early 2016.

Until then, thanks DEMCO.  Way to go.