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Letter: Is solar lottery the best we can do?

Published June 24, 2014 4:24 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The results are in from Rocky Mountain Power's annual solar lottery. Of 1,466 residential customers who applied, 248 won the opportunity to receive ratepayer assistance installing rooftop solar equipment.

The winners may contribute 845 kilowatts of clean solar energy to the grid. The 1,218 losers might have contributed 5,232 kilowatts of solar energy. Some may try again next year. Some will forego installing solar. Those who can afford it will "go solar" anyway.

For some perspective: RMP's seven coal-burning plants produce 2,247,000 kilowatts of electricity. The utility has nine gas-burning plants that produce another 2,027,000 kilowatts.

Since solar currently represents 0.02 percent of Rocky Mountain Power's fuel mix, one might wonder why the utility says no to 80 percent of residential customers who want contribute solar energy. One might also wonder why RMP wants to impose a $51 annual penalty on existing solar families.

The Solar Incentive Program lottery is currently under review by the Public Service Commission. Maybe it's time to scrap the lottery in favor of a program that more equitably serves the hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Utahns who want to invest in clean renewable energy.

Public comments are being taken until July 7 at psc@utah.gov with subject "Docket 14-035-71."

Stanley Holmes

Salt Lake City




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