California solar power imposing its costs on non-consumers

posted at 3:31 pm on December 18, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

California seems almost singularly determined to become the most true-blue and subsequently expensive state in the union, and the results of their liberal governance are continuing to bear fruit — and I somehow doubt that California’s legislative supermajority will make any serious attempts at mitigating the pending implosion.

Not only are Californians looking at some of the highest effective tax rates and biggest budget problems in the country by a long shot, but their energy prices just keep on bloating, thanks to the state’s renewable-subsidizing policies:

Booming rooftop solar installations in California are bringing an unwelcome surprise to the homes and businesses that don’t have the devices: an extra $1.3 billion added to their annual bills, more than half of that for Pacific Gas & Electric customers.

Power companies in the state, the nation’s biggest for solar power, are required to buy electricity from home solar generators at the same price they resell it to other customers, meaning utilities earn nothing to cover their fixed costs. The rules are shortsighted because eventually rates must be raised to make up the difference, according to Southern California Edison, which has joined with competitors to estimate potential losses.

As more homes and warehouses get covered in solar panels, higher rates imposed on traditional consumers risk a growing conflict between renewable-energy advocates and power companies that foresee a backlash in California and 42 other states with similar policies.

According to the Department of Energy, Californians spent a total of $33.5 billion in 2010, meaning that $1.3 billion is a not-insignificant number in terms of the costs imposed on consumers. Will this deter California’s commitment to backing the oh-so-promising technologies they (along with our federal government) have so wisely decided are the winning energies of the future? …I won’t hold my breath.

The promise of clean and cheap solar energy is getting a second look in California, where utilities are required to get a third of their power from renewable power by 2020. But after millions in tax breaks and handouts, the industry’s honeymoon is over with some counties and ratepayers, as the expected jobs, savings and revenue have not materialized.

California’s Riverside County is producing more solar energy than anywhere in the U.S., with close to a dozen solar plants either online or proposed.

“On the face of it, it looks like a good deal. They talk about all these huge jobs and long-term benefits to the county. The truth is, it’s a very short term,” Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit said. “We’re going to be carrying the burden of having these types of facilities for decades to come, and because of the incentives that have been provided by federal and state government, there’s virtually nothing left for the county government or the local people to get benefit back after the small number of construction jobs are gone.”

Ah, well — at least the energy-related news coming out of California isn’t all discouraging. As with the rest of the country’s economic problems, the oil and natural gas boom instigated by hydraulic fracturing could be the state’s saving grace with the influx of jobs, wealth, and revenue it would provide. If they’ll let it, that is, by taking advantage of their wildly abundant natural resources without strangling the industry with their reliably zealous regulatory climate:

Under pressure from state lawmakers and environmentalists, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Tuesday released draft regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the controversial drilling process driving a national oil and gas boom.

The rules come after oil regulators hosted a series of public workshops this year to assuage public concern over the procedure, which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil. …

Regulators labeled the proposed regulations a “discussion draft,” saying in a statement that they were “a starting point for discussion by key stakeholders” and would not trigger the formal rulemaking process, which is expected to begin early next year.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

California: from bread basket to basket case in a few decades.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM

This is nuts.

ctmom on December 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

What meaningful and permanent jobs did these people expect anyway, what morons.

whbates on December 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

California: from bread basket to basket case in a few decades.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM

There is no economy so rich, that the socialists cannot bankrupt it in short order.

Rebar on December 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

That happens everywhere.

There is actually a company here in North Carolina that sets up solar panels on businesses roofs, not to power the business, but to get the money back from the power. It doesn’t cost the business any money, they just rent out the space to solar company.

SAS, yeah that #1 place to work privately owned very profitable never laid off a worker company, here in Cary, built a solar farm. Again, not to power its campus, but to sell back the energy to the power company.

LoganSix on December 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

We’ll soon be completely bankrupt here in CA.

But don’t worry, soon bums can pi$$ anywhere they want in the streets of San Francisco.

Progress

NapaConservative on December 18, 2012 at 3:50 PM

My local high schools here in north L.A. are covered in huge panel arrays whose return on investment isn’t. They cost far more than they’d ever ‘save’. Especially with bogus rebate programs and govt borrowing costs / inflation. They won’t even be paid off before the wear out. One school at least was smart enough to use the panels as giant shade structures over the parking lots. A much more useful and farsighted use. When the panels are dead / abandoned, at least they’ll still provide some shade.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

California solar power imposing its costs on non-consumers

Thanks to 0bama, all US taxpayers are supporting this industry, whether we use them or not.

UltimateBob on December 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Here’s something not a lot of people here in CA know. They perpetrate this BS as that you “sell” your energy to the power company. AND THAT IS THE ONLY WAY IT WORKS.

I heard some jerk-off on television the other day, bragging about how he was ‘energy self-sufficient’. He is no such thing. He still gets his electricity from the power company, and they have placed a ‘smart meter’ on his house. When the California Air Resources Board decides he is using more than his fair share of electricity, he will be taxed accordingly, solar panels or not. And hee CANNOT disconnect himself from the grid.

What a bunch of morons. And yet we re-elected Jug-Ears. Unbelievable.

MikeinPRCA on December 18, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Ahhhhh…

… Paradise!

/

Seven Percent Solution on December 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Frankly I’d advocate suburban installation of solar panels for a different reason – to detach from the grid. Screw their FSA and ideologically driven bill increases. The way they keep attackign fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and blocking new plant construction, we’re heading for third-world brownouts and hours of planned no-power conditions anyway. And that’s besides the ‘smart meter’ chicanery heading towards the point where some leftist can remotely turn my AC off during peak demand.
It would be worth turning a bit FSA, grab the expiring tax credits, and install a whole-house solar, wind and battery storage inverter system. Set it up and turn off the grid power. That and a cell plan and 4G+ and the phone and cable companies with their subsidy-laden bills can suckit too.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:04 PM

“On the face of it, it looks like a good deal. They talk lie about all these huge jobs and long-term benefits to the county. The truth is, it’s a very short term,”

FIXORD!!

jukin3 on December 18, 2012 at 4:04 PM

California’s Riverside County is producing more solar energy than anywhere in the U.S., with close to a dozen solar plants either online or proposed.
 
…“We’re going to be carrying the burden of having these types of facilities for decades to come…

 

I’m guessing that urban elitist’s friends-with-solar are math-challenged. As another poster pointed out (with real numbers), these systems are not cost effective…
 
natasha333 on October 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

 
I’m guessing that you don’t know your a** from a hole in the ground and that middle class people who pay the electric bill every month probably know what they’re paying.
 
urban elitist on October 13, 2012 at 2:06 PM

rogerb on December 18, 2012 at 4:06 PM

And who is installing the solar panels on their homes in California?

Rich folks! Those who could easily afford it.

Average cost? $35,000!!

And who pays for it? Poor, working and middle class folks who can’t afford those fancy panels!

GREAT JOB California!

I swear, if you are a working or middle class person, you have to be a SUCKER to live and get hosed in that armpit of a state!

Opposite Day on December 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

btw, you don’t have to tolerate the ‘smart meter’, but they’ll charge you an EXTRA fee to put a standard meter back in. The new meters are a cell network, automated usage reporting for billing. They’ve already subsumed the cost of a meter reader to other budget line items. If you try to opt out they’ll bill you for the cost of a human meter reader to resume checking your readings.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Frankly I’d advocate suburban installation of solar panels for a different reason – to detach from the grid. Screw their FSA and ideologically driven bill increases. The way they keep attackign fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and blocking new plant construction, we’re heading for third-world brownouts and hours of planned no-power conditions anyway. And that’s besides the ‘smart meter’ chicanery heading towards the point where some leftist can remotely turn my AC off during peak demand.
It would be worth turning a bit FSA, grab the expiring tax credits, and install a whole-house solar, wind and battery storage inverter system. Set it up and turn off the grid power. That and a cell plan and 4G+ and the phone and cable companies with their subsidy-laden bills can suckit too.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:04 PM

That’s the sinister beauty of their plan Rayra. You can’t use your own electricity. They won’t let you off the grid if you are currently on it. The only thing you can do is move WAY out to the sticks where the grid doesn’t exist, and even then you need a friendly county government to approve your zoning.

We’re well and truly screwed. And they start selling California Carbon Credits in two weeks.

MikeinPRCA on December 18, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Nudge!

Wigglesworth on December 18, 2012 at 4:13 PM

btw, you don’t have to tolerate the ‘smart meter’, but they’ll charge you an EXTRA fee to put a standard meter back in. The new meters are a cell network, automated usage reporting for billing. They’ve already subsumed the cost of a meter reader to other budget line items. If you try to opt out they’ll bill you for the cost of a human meter reader to resume checking your readings.

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

The ‘opt-out’ is only a stop-gap effort to quell dissent. The PUC has not responded to my town’s objections. Look for the super-majority in the legislature and Governor Moonbeam to take care of this pretty quickly.

I have to laugh – all the hell-raisers are complaining not a bit about the invasion of privacy and control of your carbon use. They’re worried about the wireless signals destroying their brains!

Too late…

MikeinPRCA on December 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

California: from bread basket to basket case in a few decades.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM

.
There is no economy so rich, that the socialists cannot bankrupt it in short order.

Rebar on December 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

.
Right-on … (unfortunately ) . . . : (

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

our local HS just announced a plan to put solar panels on the roofs…and they’ll have a cute little dial that shows the students how much $$$$ is ‘saved’

and, the ‘teachers’ are very excited about how this can add to the curriculum

if you know nothing about solar power, and the state rebates that support this project, and the con men involved…i’m sure it will look just dandy…fake, but cool

Natch the press can’t ask any smart questions..too dumb

I’m not even in CA..

r keller on December 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Ahhhhh…

… Paradise!

/

Seven Percent Solution on December 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

“You call some place Paradise … kiss it goodbye.”

– Don Henley (unfortunately a Leftist owing to being an eco-freak)
[the last line from the song The Last Resort]

ShainS on December 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

What meaningful and permanent jobs did these people expect anyway, what morons.
whbates on December 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Wait, don’t you know? Everywhere there’s a green powerplant, there’s scores of earnest, intense men and women in shirts, ties, hardhats and safety glasses, carrying clipboards and two-way radios, all smiling and staring at the equipment. I think they start at $100K a year and it’s lifetime employment. I don’t know what they actually DO, but it looks very important, and fulfilling, and rewarding! Forward! Upward! Onward! PROGRESS!!!

(Source: Green energy industry TV Ads.)

Marcola on December 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

MikeinPRCA on December 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Are you in Sebastopol, by chance?

Xasprtr on December 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

“a starting point for discussion by key stakeholders”

“How much will you donate to our campaigns to make this go away?”

PattyJ on December 18, 2012 at 5:11 PM

What’s “green” about solar???

You can’t grow grass under solar panels…The panels only produce power 18% of the time (at most) and solar panels are degraded by sunlight, so they never last long enough to recover their initial cost!!!

The ONLY thing “green” about solar is the money which is shoveled into it in a futile attempt to produce something useful.

landlines on December 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

And who is installing the solar panels on their homes in California?

Rich folks! Those who could easily afford it.

Average cost? $35,000!!

Opposite Day on December 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Let’s examine the economics of solar:

My total annual electric bill is under $1800 (power comes from a mixture of coal and natural gas in my region).

So if I put in solar, and if solar installation could provide ALL of my electric power, it would take almost 20 years to recover an initial investment of $35,000.

But solar can only provide 18% of my power (stupid sun won’t shine at night or on cloudy days), so my recovery period will be closer to 111 years.

And solar panels typically have to be replaced in 5-8 years (sunlight degrades them), so my maximum savings with a set of solar panels would be $14,400 (=8yrs * $1800/yr) for every set of $35,000 panels!!! So I would LOSE at least $20600 every 8 years (=$35000-$14400)…or $2575/year….FOREVER!!!

You have to be totally blinded by ideology and immune to common sense in order to think that solar power is a viable alternative to coal, gas, hydroelectric, or nuclear power.

landlines on December 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

And solar panels typically have to be replaced in 5-8 years (sunlight degrades them), so my maximum savings with a set of solar panels would be $14,400 (=8yrs * $1800/yr) for every set of $35,000 panels!!! So I would LOSE at least $20600 every 8 years (=$35000-$14400)…or $2575/year….FOREVER!!!

You have to be totally blinded by ideology and immune to common sense in order to think that solar power is a viable alternative to coal, gas, hydroelectric, or nuclear power.

landlines on December 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Silly pragmatist – facts and math don’t matter, as long you’re saving Gaia…..

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Silly pragmatist – facts and math don’t matter, as long you think you’re saving Gaia…..

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Corrected.

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Silly pragmatist – facts and math don’t matter, as long you think you’re saving Gaia…..

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Corrected.

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM

The quote probably should be something like (channelling the TRIX rabbit):

Silly Pragmatist: Solar Panels are for Kids!!!

…or, alternatively:

Silly Pragmatist: Facts are for Adults!!!

(I guess I’m guilty as charged.)

landlines on December 18, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Will the last person to leave California please blow out the candle. .

locomotivebreath1901 on December 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Will Tom Joad be moving back to Oklahoma?

JohnFLob on December 18, 2012 at 6:44 PM

I’ll believe in the effectiveness of Solar, when CA’s HSR is completely and solely powered by it.

Another Drew on December 18, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Tom left on Nov 7th.

Another Drew on December 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM

You have to be totally blinded by ideology and immune to common sense in order to think that solar power is a viable alternative to coal, gas, hydroelectric, or nuclear power.

Welcome to the People’s Progressive Republik of Kalifornia!

Another Drew on December 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

California: from bread basket to basket case in a few decades.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM

From melting pot to toilet pot in 50 short years.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Power companies in the state, the nation’s biggest for solar power, are required to buy electricity from home solar generators at the same price they resell it to other customers, meaning utilities earn nothing to cover their fixed costs. The rules are shortsighted because eventually rates must be raised to make up the difference, according to Southern California Edison, which has joined with competitors to estimate potential losses.

Sorry, this is the deal-with-the-devil Bray Davis and the Governator made to stop the Jerry Brown-outs that plagued the state a while back.

Since its been decades since the last sizeable powerplant was constructed, the thought of private money putting up all of these devices was liked by conservatives, libertarians, and liberal scum alike.

And yes, I have some on my roof. Before you chastise me, consider how Milton Friedman defended his utilizing school loans: Why should you put yourself at an economic disadvatage that threatens all of your success?

Shaughnessy on December 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

our local HS just announced a plan to put solar panels on the roofs…

r keller on December 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Schools pi$$ away money on solar panels, self-esteem courses, and fancy buildings on large pieces of valuable land, then say they don’t have the money to pay for armed guards or decent security.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

What meaningful and permanent jobs did these people expect anyway, what morons.

Well someone has to clean all those solar panels to keep them working! Heck dust, POLLEN, bird poop, leaves, ashes, snow, etc. quickly degrade what little effeceincy they have.

Now, if they could just scoop up all those guys on the corners spraying dirty water on my windshield without my permission then charging me to squigee it off and put them in the middle of those solar panel plants to clean the panel, it could be just a little less lose-lose than it is now.

Fatal on December 18, 2012 at 9:10 PM

From melting pot to toilet pot in 50 short years.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

You have to know these people. The quest for the garden continues…

Ha! If you did enough pot you would know that all you have to do is make the garbage films, commercials, tv shows and magazines even cheaper and more appealing to base emotions and base intellect to get mo money!

Then you waste it on saving the earth and a gov’t built Garden of Eden since the $50 million LA home and the little hideaways around the globe didn’t make you happy.

Can’t let those guys in places like Oregon, Texas, Maine and Ohio keep their money, they might buy SUVs, guns, boats, church events and charities..

IlikedAUH2O on December 18, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Ahem. Someone just wrote and told me I was being misleading.

OK, I know people out there who are well off. I DO NOT know numbers of, let alone scores of, people with 10% of the real estate investments cited.

I projected from the species of California liberals I do know and they have demonstrated a marked readiness to slip into that general thought and behavioral pattern.

I not doing any group or mass media psychotherapy on the left coast. Why they even tolerate me is a mystery.

IlikedAUH2O on December 18, 2012 at 9:47 PM

…what a sad State!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2012 at 9:48 PM

I was going to make a sarcastic statement but then realized this is the state that elected Jerry Brown to be their governor AGAIN. You can’t fix stupid.

georgeofthedesert on December 19, 2012 at 10:52 PM