Sean Noble’s recent take on the solar industry as outlined in his blog Noble Thinking in an entry entitled “Failure to Launch” represents a failure to learn on the part of the author.
First a little background. Nevada recently pulled the plug on “net metering” which requires utilities to pay the retail rate for the excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid.
Hundreds of solar related jobs are being lost in Nevada as a result. That’s something the pro-utility crowd seems to forget as they do a victory lap.
Noble and the pro-utility crowd falsely label this a subsidy.
Net metering is commerce, it’s not a subsidy. Net metering enables rooftop solar customers to generate extra power to offset their electricity bills. These people pay the retail rate for their electricity, why shouldn’t they receive the retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.
And while we are on the topic of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most subsidized industries in the United States. That’s a talking point often ignored by the utilities and their camp followers.
Another misconception is that net metering burdens non solar customers because it can reduce utility profits. The same could be said for double pain windows, attic insulation, or a good shade tree.
In reality, solar benefits utilities (and the paying public) in the long run by reducing the need for additional power plants.
Noble depicts the solar industry as a college grad living in mom’s basement. It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs developed the first Apple computer in his parents’ basement. And it’s worth noting the opinions of conservatives contrary to that of Noble.
Utilities need to embrace competition and solar innovation or they may suffer the same fate as the typewriter industry.
If Noble finds nobility in defending the past versus the future, so be it. But every time he uses Uber, Lyft, Amazon, StubHub or any other technological advancements, he belies his own argument and reinforces the notion about it being more about defense of a client, not common sense.