In the meantime, solar is making strong plays, with many mainstream scientists coming to see the potential for solar (coupled with efficiency measures, other renewables, and natural gas) to completely replace coal-petro/nuclear options by 2050 with the right drivers (ie. motivation/leadership).
Today and tomorrow, you have a chance to help salvage a solar policy in Texas that will actually encourage homeowners to invest in solar arrays, rather than leave them with the price of expensive meters and no guarantee that utilities will ever buy back the excess power they produce.
From the state Sierra Club:
The Public Utility Commission should adopt good rules that would encourage the development of on-site renewable generation but has instead issued proposed rules that do not even require payment for surplus electricity.
Last legislative session, the Legislature passed a new law on on-site renewable energy by creating the opportunity for homeowners and businesses living in areas with electrical retail competition to install on-site solar or other renewables and "interconnect" to the electric grid and sell surplus electricity back to the retail electric provider. Since then, the Public Utility Commission has approved a rule for publication on "metering" and proposed a "strawman" rule on interconnection. The metering rule is scheduled to be voted upon tomorrow by PUC commissioners while the deadline for comments on the strawman rule is also on March 26th. Despite the clear direction from the legislature that "net metering and advanced meter information networks be deployed as rapidly as possible to allow customers to better manage energy use and control costs," the proposals create heavy burdens on customers wanting to install on-site solar, rewards to transmission and retail electric companies, but no guarantees that customers who generate surplus electricity will ever get paid. In other words, the proposed rules are heavy on meters, and non-existent on "netting."
Send a message to the PUC chairman and commissioners...How does solar work?
Read tomorrow's schedule today, by opening the PUC's March 20 entry..
`UPDATE: 3/26/08 PUC honchos agreed to put off their decision until April 9, though they defended their proposed reg. The extra time is to allow those who took issue with the quick way the rule had hit the docket to make their case for an adjusted regulation more favorable to consumer solar energy, according to a Sierra Club press release.
"Now it is up to the solar industry and its advocates to show the Commissioners in an objective, thoughtful manner that the proposed rule - and a separate but related draft 'strawman' rule on interconnection - are short-sighted and do not correctly interpret the call of the legislature to promote net-metering,” said Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the state Sierra Club chapter.`