Solar production

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In response to Illinois state Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios’ letter “Solar Cost Shifting” (June 10):

After great thought and analysis, my wife and I decided to install a solar power system for our home rather than purchase electric power from a local utility. We made this decision based more on our desire to lower our “carbon footprint” than on the economics involved.

Our solar installation will generate slightly more power than we consume and a utility (through a “net metering agreement” alluded to by Rep. Berrios) will purchase that excess from us at its cost to buy the same amount of power from another power producer. But it will not pay us for the “transmission charge” associated with that power, which is about half of the total cost of electricity to the consumer. It makes zero economic sense for us (or any small producer) to generate excess solar power solely for the purpose of selling it back to the utility company.

But there is an aspect to Rep. Berrios’ argument that strikes me as counterintuitive. She suggests that by consumers generating their own electricity, others who do not do so will pay more for their power that is generated from fossil fuels. Really? As more people adopt clean sources for their electricity, their demand for fossil energy will drop. Thus, the supply of electricity from fossil fuel will increase by the same amount. I was taught that as demand decreases and supply increases, prices will drop. Perhaps I was misinformed.

More troubling, though, is the thought that by extension Ms. Berrios would argue against any form of clean energy as it would make energy from fossil fuels more expensive. I simply don’t know where to begin my argument against that concept.


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