Last year North Carolina policymakers made major changes to state energy policy — but not to the state's exorbitant avoided-cost rates. Such a reform is all the more necessary, however, because of last year's restructuring of energy policy.
Turning solar developers into a big, greedy business capable of running roughshod over poor neighbors' concerns in small towns was an unintended negative consequence of all the cronyism for solar development.
It's a two-pronged, self-defeating argument that solar advocates make without seeming to notice how the second prong makes an utter shambles of the first. Solar energy is a powerhouse new industry in NC, and if you removed any governmental favoritism, it would come to utter ruin.
Cronyism is directly opposed to market competition. After all, you don't have government forcing people to do what they'd do anyway. That's why there's no law saying you have to put on your pants before your shoes.
A California natural-gas producer is offering energy to commercial customers using the same leasing model solar producers have used. Allowing other enterprising producers of energy to offer competitive options for consumers would expand choice, competition, and innovative thinking here.
Imposing a tariff on solar panels crosses that line between freeing up the energy market for fairer competition (this is government's proper role) and picking favorites in that competition (this is not).
Conventional thinking about technological innovation in energy production seems to focus only on renewable technology, as if traditional sources of energy are incapable of technological change. But that simply isn't true.