Future of U.S. Solar at Risk in Net-Metering Suppression

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nichola Groom for Reuters:In California, regulators voted in January to preserve so-called net metering, which requires utilities to purchase surplus power generated by customers with rooftop solar panels. But neighboring Nevada scrapped the policy – prompting solar companies to flee the state.The decisions foreshadow an intensifying national debate over public support that the rooftop solar industry says it can’t live without.“Without net metering, it just doesn’t work,” said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of top U.S. residential solar installer SolarCity Corp.More than 25 of the 40 U.S. states with net metering policies are reconsidering them, according to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University.Opponents raise fairness concerns and argue that the industry no longer needs generous incentives, citing its rapid growth and solar panel prices that have fallen about 40 percent in five years.Net metering credits solar users – at full retail rates – for any surplus power their panels generate above household usage. That means many customers pay no monthly utility bill or even rack up excess credits, which they can redeem later in months when their systems produce less power than their home uses.For most customers, net metering and other incentives are essential to make solar power worth the steep upfront investment – between $17,000 and $24,000 for a typical system, according to data from research firm GTM Research. For systems that are leased, as most are, net metering creates a monthly savings over typical power costs.Solar providers understand those consumer economics, which explains why SolarCity last month shed more than 550 jobs in Nevada after the public utilities commission in December voted to end net metering at retail rates. The commission plans to reduce credits and raise service charges for solar customers gradually over 12 years.Future of U.S. solar threatened in nationwide fight over incentives Future of U.S. Solar at Risk in Net-Metering Suppressionlast_img read more

H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: UK businesses lag, neurologic symptoms, hajj ban, UK flu phone line

first_imgJul 23, 2009British businesses lag on preparednessAbsenteeism in British workplaces is three times normal for this time of year, a consultant group told the British government this week, leading to fears that businesses will struggle when the H1N1 influenza pandemic peaks, the Financial Times reported today. Many companies have instituted hygiene steps, but an expert said most haven’t planned for absences, such as making telecommuting plans, boosting customer self-service systems, and identifying key workers.[Jul 23 Financial Times story]Neurologic complications arise in children with H1N1The US CDC reported today on four children who had neurologic complications of novel H1N1 flu. The four, aged 7 to 17, were hospitalized with flu-like illness and seizures or altered mental status, according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. All recovered fully. The complications were less severe than those described in two recent reports of cases related to seasonal flu. The CDC advises clinicians to be alert for such cases and use appropriate tests and antiviral treatment.[Jul 24 MMWR article]Muslim countries bar high-risk groups from hajjHealth ministers from Middle Eastern countries who met yesterday to discuss pandemic flu risks decided to ban children, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions from attending the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in late November, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The ban applies to children under 12 and adults over 65. Some Muslim clerics have opposed pilgrimage travel bans and have said flu risks are exaggerated.[Jul 23 AP story]Britain launches flu phone lineBritain launched its national influenza phone hotline today, staffed by more than 1,500 people, the London Telegraph reported. The system is designed to relieve pressure on England’s National Health Service. Patients experiencing novel H1N1 flu symptoms can call in to have their illness diagnosed and receive a code number that allows them to obtain oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Patients from high-risk groups will be referred to doctors.[Jul 23 Telegraph story]Southern hemisphere sees H3N2 seasonal flu variantLaboratory experts in the southern hemisphere are reporting the circulation of a drifted strain of the seasonal H3N2 flu virus, raising the threat of a vaccine mismatch for the northern hemisphere’s upcoming flu season, the Canadian Press reported today. Officials, overwhelmed by handling a deluge of pandemic H1N1 samples, aren’t sure how common the variant is. It was first identified in March by researchers in British Columbia.[Jul 23 Canadian Press story]last_img read more