The Advocate ran a story on the front page of Sunday’s paper describing the controversy regarding the generous state tax credits applied to solar panel purchases. While I applaud our state for leading the way with support of an alternative energy industry, I understand the need to balance the state budget.
However, what outraged me far more is what was buried in the article — an effort by a member of the Public Service Commission to potentially save money for Entergy, not our taxpayers. Currently, the net metering law allows extra energy to flow back into the grid from residences with solar panels temporarily making more energy than they are using. The meter runs “backwards,” crediting the consumer.
Clyde Holloway views this as creating energy that Entergy should pay a “wholesale” price for, rather than an equal flow of energy back and forth to and from the grid. This is flawed on many levels. A residence is hardly an energy “wholesaler.” Furthermore, people have calculated their return on their solar investment based on the fair exchange of energy offered by the net meter.
Holloway portrays solar panel owners as wealthy people who should want to go solar solely for the good of the planet, not as an investment. Therefore, the return on their investment is of no consequence. All you have to do is drive around New Orleans to see an abundance of solar panels on very modest homes.
Lastly, the concept of buying energy from Entergy at a “retail” price, and selling energy back at a “wholesale” price might make a shred of sense if Entergy actually PAID for the energy — but they do not! The net metering law only requires them to credit energy. If you make more energy than you use, Entergy does not cut you a check, they just made free electricity.
Please, let the Public Service Commission hear from the residents of this state. The tax credit and the budget not withstanding, leave the net metering law alone! The taxpayer burden is one thing, Entergy making more profit at the expense of concerned citizens is something else altogether.