Letter to the Editor
- Alabama ranked 48th in the solar jobs per capita last year.
- Arizona State University ranked Alabama 8th among states that would benefit most from solar energy deployment.
- Alabama Power only pays its customers between 2.97¢ and 5.10¢ per kWh.
- TVA and Georgia Power pay their customers fair market value for the excess electricity they generate.
- Alabama Power, which made $5.6 billion in revenues in 2013, charges customers $5/kW for solar energy they generate — a veritable a “sun tax.”
- The Alabama PSC allows Alabama Power to charge a $5 monthly contract fee for connecting to the grid.
- Alabama’s rooftop solar potential is greater than the total electricity it produced in 2014.
Clean, renewable energy must become a priority for Alabama to grow our economy, improve our health and protect our environment. Alabama should harness the power of the sun to become a leader in solar energy development. I recently learned about some regressive policies enacted by the Alabama Public Service Commission which discourage consumers from taking advantage of our abundant solar opportunities. I am concerned that these policies serve only the interests of Alabama Power — not its customers.
The PSC approved a monthly fee on solar installments of $5 per kilowatt. This means if I install a 4 kilowatt rooftop system on my home, I’ll owe Alabama Power $20 per month. In addition, the PSC approved a monthly $5 purchase of alternative energy (PAE) contract fee for connecting to Alabama Power’s grid.
Not only does the PSC allow Alabama Power to take these fees out of our pocketbooks, but also Alabama Power reimburses customers only approximately $0.03 per kilowatt hour for the solar energy it buys back from us. Meanwhile, TVA and Georgia Power pay their customers about 5 times the amount that Alabama Power pays its customers.
Alabamians pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation and we lag behind our neighbors in the growing solar jobs market. Alabama’s economy has been outperformed by every other state in the nation since the Great Recession. Clean, renewable energy like solar can turn this trend around and improve Alabama’s health, economy and environment.
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