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Why is the Solar Cap Important?

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Tom Ferraro, Carolina Energy Conservation

Dear Editor,

I have been in the solar industry for about 9 years and have watched different utilities throughout the country try to restrict solar, as is happening now in South Carolina. Most of the objections to rooftop solar have stated that subsidies for solar customers aren’t fair to non-solar customers. The truth is yes, solar is subsidized. But so are utilities and pretty much any other industry that we want to grow. The opportunity to receive federal tax credits was a big part of the decision to undertake the $9 Billion VC Summer Nuclear Plant. Those subsidies are part of what kept the project afloat for so long.

Rooftop solar systems are a small piece of our state’s total energy picture. Allowing this industry to continue to grow makes sense for consumers, and the environmental benefits are huge. If more people use solar power, fewer fossil fuel plants will be needed. Many solar panels today are “cradle to cradle,” meaning all materials are reused with no loss of quality. 

But big utilities are motivated to keep consumer’s costs high, and they don’t like solar. The utilities want to keep in place an existing cap on the amount of energy that solar power can produce.

Eliminating any cap on solar would provide continued employment for thousands of South Carolina workers in solar sales and installations.  What happens to those workers if we reach the cap? 

If this bothers you, contact your local state representatives who voted for the cap and ask them to explain what happens to these jobs and to the environment if we reach current cap on solar?  And, ask them to explain who benefits from their “no” vote.