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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Both Liberals and Libertarians Support Solar Energy

Strange bedfellows? Not if you understand where they're coming from.

Republicans in general support solar power because it provides a way to power independence for everyone. Democrats like it because it destroys the monopoly of utilities. Fight Over Rooftop Solar Forecasts a Bright Future points out:
Utility companies warn that the lost revenue from solar-powered costumers will necessitate price increases for people without solar panels, because the electric grid and other critical infrastructure must still be maintained...
If solar rooftop arrays became as ubiquitous in home design as chimneys, the U.S. grid could indeed cease to exist—an end to power lines, electrical substations and transformers atop equally archaic wooden utility poles. “Right now our electricity system is very much a command-and-control centralized system,” says David Crane, CEO of Princeton, N.J.–headquartered national energy company NRG, which is attempting to reinvent itself for the less centralized future Crane foresees. “In the future I see an at-home, disaggregated system, with the home like a brain, with supply and demand of electricity being generated in that home.”
The key to Crane’s vision of a decentralized system is the cost of a power producing system to the individual homeowner, and the price of solar power keeps dropping. As a result, solar proponents push for the switch for a variety of reasons that cut across political party lines. This war over solar has pitted Republican against Republican, and formed new alliances between libertarians and liberals.