Amendment 1 is a lie. It pretends to champion the cause of solar, but its true purpose is to eliminate privately owned rooftop solar systems. There are three sections to the proposed amendment: 1) Grants the right to have solar panels — a right that we already have; 2) Provides for mandatory inspection and oversight by local and state code enforcement officers for “public safety” reasons; and 3) Prohibits “net metering.”
Since nearly all privately owned rooftop solar systems rely on “net metering,” this amendment, if passed, may require that they disconnect their solar systems. Net metering is where a home with solar panels will send power generated by the sun during the peak times of the day into the grid so that it can be used by other power company customers that do not have solar. At night, when the demand is less, and the solar panels are not producing power, the solar homes will draw power from the grid just like any other customer.
The power companies that are backing Amendment 1 consider net metering to be subsidizing solar homes. Even though solar homes are actually adding power to the grid during peak demand times, thus reducing the load on the power company, they consider this free use of the electric grid since the current law requires that for every kilowatt that a solar home puts into the grid, it is entitled to remove later at no charge.
From the power company’s point of view, as an example, think of the electric grid as being a toll road on which everyone must pay the power company a toll to drive on. The current law effectively says that solar-powered cars must be allowed to drive on the road toll free. Amendment 1 would prohibit solar-powered cars from using the toll road altogether.
At some point, the Public Service Commission will most likely require that solar homes pay a “grid toll” to help compensate the power companies for the use of their grid, but a sneaky-worded constitutional amendment is the wrong way to do it. I will be voting NO on Amendment 1.
Dennis Hawkins, The Acreage