title=”American pushing a car. The car symbolizing the status quo of energy & utilities.” src=”http://www.wholesolarpower.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Pushing-utilities-300×199.jpg” alt=”American pushing a car. The car symbolizing the status quo of energy & utilities.” width=”300″ height=”199″ />
The renewable energy revolution and, specifically, the solar revolution, is on a charge like never before… full charge. It’s a trumpets- blaring kind of charge. The status quo, aka utility companies, are having a difficult time adapting and adopting to the surge in demand. Most likely with the onset of higher energy costs, nuclear meltdown and awareness on price decreases in solar. The adoption rate has occurred at such a high level that LA Department of Water & Power (LADWP), released a statement explaining how they are changing their solar rebate policy because:
A) The demand has overextended their fiscal budgeting by almost 300%, and;
B) Citing safety concerns since they don’t have the bandwidth to inspect more than 80% of the installs in a timely fashion.
SB 1 passed in 2006 (coined “The Million Solar Roofs Bill”), requires state municipal utilities to create their own solar rebate program for their utility ratepayers, among other mandated components & enforcement directives through 2016. The utility companies across the country have typically lobbied against pro-solar legislation, like SB1, so there is natural skepticism as to LADPW motive of “temporarily” suspending their rebate program. LADPW isn’t the first utility to maneuver this direction, other utilities in pro solar states like Colorado & Florida have take similar evasive action, too. Regardless, of honest vs. dishonest intentions, the one powerful statement this is making is that Solar ubiquity in America Is for real! Demand/solar adoption rates are increasing, and supply is really the biggest threat to getting the pricing to the sweet spot of making adoption as mainstream as super sizing your french fries.
Pricing at All Time Low
Since 2008, WholeSolar has been bringing solar buyers together to increase their buying power. The result is lower wholesale pricing. It’s like “Groupon” for solar. Pricing has dropped extensively since 2008, but frankly there has never been a better time to buy solar than right now – even if all the utilities who are mandated by State approved rebate programs, revolted. Literally, at the publication of this post we have negotiated unheard of pricing on behalf of the WholeSolar buying group. Consumers, are eating this up, given that solar, typically returns that cost within a 6-7 years of savings. More importantly, the home owners “cost-of-doing-nothing” is staggering. Nobody knows where pricing will go later this year and on into 2012. Even, with a pricing flux, the fact is that more states are going to be passing bills like SB1, and the momentum of the energy revolution in America is going to continue. The solar surge has the momentum that is going to help recharge the economy, and not be stopped by a utility lobby, or a presidential election, unless they want to be on the wrong side of history.
With pricing being at this level of a low & demand increasing to an all time high, utilities like LADPW are going to be forced to seriously review their rebate programs, refine them and meet the demand. Currently, LADPW is budgeted $30 million for 2011 rebate programs, and has confirmed requests for $112 million and we just started the 2nd quarter of the year! Granted, this reveals that LADPW, most likely under budgeted their rebate program to barely meet the law of the California. But, it tells a terrific legislative success story, and more importantly paints a great economic picture of how solar adoption is slowly changing the way Utilities do business.