Florida Public Service Commission

New Solar Deal, Like Everything Else in Texas, Is Big

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - To say that we’ve seen a broad range of responses from public utilities to the “onslaught” of rooftop solar would be an understatement. On the one hand, you have the Florida Public Service Commission voting to gut their energy efficiency program and terminate all solar rebate programs, eliciting  a surprising response from, by all people, the Tea Party. They say the state needs more solar, not less. The battle down there in “the Sunshine State” has led to some unusual alliances, like the Christian Coalition joining hands with Greenpeace, and the Libertarian Party linking up with Sierra Club. It stems primarily from the extraordinary influence wielded by the major power companies in the state.

Over in Texas, on the other hand, the local utility in Dallas has taken more of an “if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em” approach. Here, you’ll find MP2 Energy in a partnership with Solar City to help facilitate the rapid spread of solar power. Solar City, if you’ll recall, is also participating in a joint venture with Tesla Motors on batteries for energy storage that can be integrated with solar generation.

This Texas partnership will feature full net metering, and will bring the cost of solar down below the cost of utility power, without any local incentives. This is a big deal, especially in Texas, where previous net metering implementations had restrictions such as requiring homeowners to forfeit unused electricity at the end of each month. Considering that Texas is the nation’s largest energy producer and the fifth largest energy consumer, it is also one of the sunniest states.

Says Jeff Starcher, chairman and CEO of MP2 Energy, “With an average of 240 sunny days per year, Texas is often considered a sleeping giant when it comes to its potential for solar power, and unlocking this state has huge implications for the solar industry at large,” said. “To date, solar has only worked where there are local incentives. With this new partnership, we are making solar a practical option for residential customers in Texas.”

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