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If I had the money, I'd go solar.

We're in a good spot for it; the sun (when it's out) beats down on the unobstructed roof most of the day. Being a tree-hugger, I like the idea of solar panels on the roof. But the obvious environmental appeal is secondary to the idea of individual energy independence. I like the idea of being less dependent upon the huge, centralized, aging, vulnerable grid.

The grid itself isn't as keen on the idea.

Earlier this year Grist.org's David Roberts wrote of a little-noted (in the mainstream press) report by the Edison Electric Institute, the trade group representing investor-owned utilities. Panicked might be the best word to describe the report, which identified cheap, distributed photovoltaic panels as a threat to the utilities' business model — and maybe the grid itself.We have a great selection of blown glass backyard solar landscape lights and solar garden light.Xenon HID Worlds make hid lighting affordable to everyone and for all your vehicle needs.

"First," wrote Roberts, "the power generated by solar panels on residential or commercial roofs is not utility-owned or utility-purchased. From the utility's point of view, every kilowatt-hour of rooftop solar looks like a kilowatt-hour of reduced demand for the utility's product. ...

"It's worse than that, though. Solar power peaks at midday, which means it is strongest close to the point of highest electricity use — 'peak load.' Problem is, providing power to meet peak load is where utilities make a huge chunk of their money. Peak power is the most expensive power. So when solar panels provide peak power, they aren't just reducing demand, they're reducing demand for the utilities' most valuable product."

This is the part where conservatives chime in: But the sun doesn't always shine! And battery technology isn't good enough!

Yet the industry itself expects battery technology to improve: "While we would expect customers to remain on the grid until a fully viable and economic distributed non-variable resource is available, one can imagine a day when battery storage technology or micro turbines could allow customers to be electric grid independent," the report notes. "To put this into perspective, who would have believed 10 years ago that traditional wire line telephone customers could economically 'cut the cord?' "

Game this out. With fewer ratepayers, the burden of maintaining and improving the grid will be borne by customers who haven't gone solar. And it would cause "irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects" for the industry itself. From the report:

"Increased uncertainty and risk will not be welcomed by investors, who will seek a higher return on investment and force defensive-minded investors to reduce exposure to the sector. These competitive and financial risks would likely erode credit quality. The decline in credit quality will lead to a higher cost of capital, putting further pressure on customer rates. Ultimately, capital availability will be reduced, and this will affect future investment plans.How does a solar charger work and where would you use a solar charger? The cycle of decline has been previously witnessed in technology-disrupted sectors (such as telecommunications) and other deregulated industries (airlines)."

Creative destruction, I think it's called.An emergency light is a battery-backed lighting device that comes on automatically when a building experiences a power outage.

The industry is already fighting back. The largest utility in Arizona, Arizona Public Services, wants to levy a fee of up to $100 monthly on people who have solar systems and sell excess power back to the grid. In other words: You thought you'd save money with solar? We'll see about that.

Expect more of this. Expect governments to back it up, or at best do nothing, as the status quo struggles to preserve itself,A solar bulb that charges up during the day and lights the night when the sun sets. using arguments both spurious and legitimate.

But none of it's going to work.

This is the decentralization, even the democratization, of power generation. It would have obvious environmental benefits; and it's far more viable than any scheme to replace coal- and gas-fired plants with solar farms (because even in the absence of rooftop panels, what would this cost, where would the capital come from, and how can strapped ratepayers afford to foot the bill?).

But as we've seen with the "too big to fail" banks, the status quo fights furiously against the forces of evolution and change.

Read the full story at www.soli-lite.com!

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