A post over at NC Capitol Connection delves into the underlying forces in the debate over renewable energy. Matt Caulder writes:
While home solar production costs have dropped drastically, now at less than $1 a kilowatt hour, solar power is still very far from replacing the market, just as vegetable-oil-powered vehicles have not supplanted gasoline for fueling transportation. But what it does do is let consumers participate in the market to offset their own bills by generating their own power for consumption, or sale, or both.
That's something that's not fully understood. The solar industry is going to roil the broader power industry, but at the same time solar can't replace traditional sources. As the article explains, solar isn't very efficient. Also, obviously, it's of no use when the sun doesn't shine. Yet it's cheap and getting cheaper, and easy for a homeowner to install.
The bottom line: today's scuffles in the legislature will likely continue for years to come. Solar power is going to change the industry, but there will be plenty of battles over who pays for what.