The New South Wales government has just introduced a Solar Bonus Scheme that could have residents earning as much as $10,000 a year to send clean electricity to the grid from solar panels on their own roofs.
The incentive is a Feed-in Tariff like the one that was so popular in Germany that they ran out of solar panels last year, and that shook up the global solar market when Spain introduced theirs a few years ago, because they paid enough so that average homeowners could earn money from adding solar panels on their roofs.
It’s a great idea, isn’t it? But we can’t do it here in the US because utility companies steadfastly oppose the eminently sensible idea of feed-in tariffs, under which power generated by home solar goes directly into the grid. Homeowners get paid for the power and get to buy power at reduced rates.
The US continues to fall behind in cleantech and renewable energy (as well as internet speed and deployment, infrastructure repair, money spent on R&D, and more), strangled by archaic rules and powerful lobbies that benefit corporations at the expense of citizens. Our electric utilities whine and snivel about how feed-in tariffs are just too darned complicated to implement. Meanwhile other countries race ahead of us doing it. I mean, it’s getting embarrassing. Sometimes we talk a great game but don’t do much to back it up.