Friday, September 5, 2014

If you end subsidies for solar projects, won't that harm the future of solar power in Wisconsin?

We disagree and believe that if the subsidies continue, the result will be short-term profits for the solar industry at the expense of our customers and improvements to solar technology.

This issue was summarized in testimony submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin by Ashley Brown, executive director of the Harvard Electric Policy Group at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Below, he explains how continuing subsidies will hurt rather than help the solar industry:

In the short term they constitute a wealth transfer from WE’s non-solar customers to the solar industry. In the long-term, however, they are actually harmful to solar energy because NEM (net metering) provides absolutely no incentives to improve the performance of a generating resource that, among renewables, already ranks last in efficiency and in cost effectiveness for reducing carbon emissions. In effect, the solar industry is putting its short-term profits ahead of the long-term value of solar energy.

Source: Rebuttal testimony of Ashley C. Brown submitted to PSCW. Page 16.

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