Energy

Solar Energy

San Antonio is a leader in the deployment of large and small scale solar technologies. CPS Energy has shown a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint through an aggressive rebate program to encourage residential solar installation.

This week, CPS presented its proposal to add a connectivity fee and facilities charge for residential solar installation. They contend that those who install solar panels on their home should bear some of the costs associated with maintaining and operating the grid. While they agreed to reduce the one-time connection fee from $450 to $225 (this is the fee that recovers costs for labor to install and connect a solar system to the CPS infrastructure), a “facilities fee” would be charged per kilowatt generated by a solar customer.  CPS says that such a fee recovers costs for maintaining the basic utility infrastructure: wires, poles, etc.

The solar community contends that there is an insufficient mathematic rationale to justify the “fixed cost recovery” fees proposed by CPS and that it unfairly targets solar customers when such fees have not been adjusted for many years. Further, they say that for the first time in a decade, the cost of solar generated electricity is rising because of new tariffs on solar panels manufactured in China and expected decreases in federal tax credits. Thus, making it more costly to install and maintain solar panels on homes will have a detrimental effect on San Antonio’s push toward renewable energy.

What do you think? Should we charge residences with solar generation capacity additional fees to offset utility maintenance costs? Or should CPS continue to encourage deployment of solar and reconsider “fixed cost recovery” rationale? Do you have solar panels? If not, under which circumstances would you consider installing them at your home?

3 comments
Anonymous
Anonymous

Just to leave my overall thought: S.A. should 'BEND OVER BACKWARDS' in support of Solar and wind - so CPS should not punish solar customers with any increase. (BTW: I diverge from the average environmentalist when I include 'NUCLEAR' in that scenario and would support that also. I think most voters do also.)

Anonymous
Anonymous

I believe CPS should not be charging additional fees to customers. The major costs of telephone poles and wiring (infrastructure costs) were incurred at the time homes or businesses were built, so this would be a duplicate, perpetual charge to those wanting to upgrade to solar. Why punish those who can afford to take the work load away from CPS? CPS seems more concerned about lost revenue than encouraging home and business owners who are trying to be ecologically responsible.