The article argues that as the U.S. aims to increase its renewable energy capacity, it faces challenges in distribution, storage, and economic viability, particularly for solar power.
– The article discusses the growing issue of wasted solar energy in states like California.
– The “duck curve” phenomenon, where more solar energy is produced than can be consumed, is becoming more problematic. In California, 6% of solar energy was wasted in 2022, and wind energy faces a similar issue.
– The California Public Utilities Commission has reduced net metering payouts, making solar panels less economically attractive for homeowners.
– The issue is spreading nationally as the U.S. moves toward renewable energy. Current infrastructure can’t efficiently distribute or store the excess clean energy.
– Texas also faces similar challenges; its power grid has limited interconnections with neighboring states. 5% of wind and 9% of solar energy were wasted in Texas in 2022.
– Despite pledges from the Biden administration to modernize the grid, building new transmission lines is a complex and slow process.
– States like Indiana and North Carolina are rolling back net metering, making solar panels less financially viable for consumers.
– Critics argue that net metering benefits wealthier households while unfairly shifting grid maintenance costs to those without solar panels.
– Utility companies are generally resistant to widespread rooftop solar adoption, as it doesn’t contribute to their profits.
– The trend against net metering is seen as a missed opportunity for scaling up clean energy, as fewer people are likely to install solar panels.
– Alternative solutions like “microgrids” or more nuanced net metering policies could help, but they conflict with the traditional utility model.