Scott: wean solar industry from price supports – Vermont Daily Chronicle

Gov. Phil Scott says Vermont’s solar power industry needed price supports when it was young, but it has matured now and must stand more on its own two feet. But will Mama Legislature agree?

A Nov. 1 proposal by his administration’s Department of Public Service would in effect reduce consumer cost of ‘net-metered’ price-supported solar power, which the report says now: Benefits the wealthy: “A household in a high earning town is more likely to have a solar system than a household in a low earning town.” Price supports “shift” about 9.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of solar power production to non-solar power producers. The Nov. 1 plan would return that money to non-producers through credits to monthly power bills over the next 10 years.

Hurts the economy: Net-metering provides jobs [est. 6,000] “but does so in a way that results in economic distortion….there is less disposable income and therefore less economic activity across Vermont.” Offers less value to consumers than cheaper (3-6 cent) unsubsidized power (hydro, nuclear, gas) because consumer demand for solar is low when its output is high: “Over the last five years, the energy value of the solar output was worth approximately 8% less than the average wholesale energy price.”

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