Everyone knows how successful the Net Meter program has been for solar saturation in the US.
This program has single-handedly put solar at a price point that simply blows away the alternative. According to Forbes
“With net metering, homeowners may be able to sell unused energy, generated by their panels, back to the utility company. This can help further offset the cost of installing solar panels and can reduce monthly utility bills.”
This helps both the utility companies- they get increased overall production in the middle of the day, and this helps the consumers as the overall financial equation looks a lot more lucrative when you can get paid for any unused energy you produce.
Solar would be light years behind if it wasn’t for this creative and widely beneficial program. According to Solar Reviews,
“The solar industry surpassed 3 million solar installations, the majority of which are residential.”
Much of this unprecedented growth, is due to the incredibly effective Net Meter programs available across the US. But, it’s not all peaches and rainbows. Utility companies love their profits! Every single utility customer that buys and uses solar under the Net Meter program, is technically costing the utility companies some valuable potential additional profits.
According to AP News,
“Pacific Gas and Electric says it expects to become more profitable than ever after it emerges from bankruptcy and pays off more than $25 billion in losses sustained in catastrophic wildfires ignited by its outdated equipment.”
Wow, that’s a lot of profits, but I bet that could actually go up dramatically. All it would take is simply doing away with the Net meter program. You see, the utility companies actually benefit from the additional energy that can be used in the middle of the day. But, that has a limiting return. At some point, each grid has more than it needs from the additional solar. At that point, it becomes a storage and distribution issue.
Hawaii has some of the highest energy prices nationwide, combined with a ridiculous amount of sunny days! Sounds perfect for solar right?
Actually, it is already at the saturation point. Green Building Advisor points out that,
“Net metering has become an important mechanism for the solar industry. However, it is not indispensable. In the state of Hawaii, solar power has been running for almost 4 years without the net metering program that was supported by Hawaiian Electric. Since 2015, no new customer is entitled to apply for the net metering mechanism.”
Iowa has introduced legislation by way of bill HF669, that will likely restrict or end Net Metering. California has attempted to pass similar legislation.
So, what gives? How do we continue to increase the rollout and distribution of Solar power in the United States, to ultimately end our dependence on foreign energy sources?
The answer might be right under our noses.
The word “Decentralized”, has gained popularity lately. Yet, I doubt any utility company executives are overly excited to just turn over those wonderful profits!
What if the answer is so simple, it’s almost hard to believe? You see, power must be used immediately or it must be stored. Storage is inefficient at best, and, flat out environmentally unsustainable at worst.
So, if the utility companies don’t want our excess energy, and we have no feasible way to store it, what could possibly eat up all this extra energy but provide something valuable during the process?
Business Insider had this to say about the energy needs of Bitcoin Mining-
“Bitcoin’s price has jumped nearly fivefold in the past year, but the rapid run-up is leading to significantly higher energy consumption for the popular cryptocurrency worldwide.
That’s largely because more people are competing to mine bitcoin — a process that involves solving complex mathematical problems that help verify digital currency transactions. Miners who solve these problems receive a share of bitcoin, and as more people who compete to mine them, the more energy it takes.”
If you really think it through, Bitcoin is a currency just like the Dollar. It has some strange characteristics but it certainly can hold value. Anyone who buys solar and uses it with a Net Meter program is creating Dollars. Creating dollars out of thin air, or thin light waves? Well, You get the point! Is Bitcoin the key to the future of residential solar?
Investopedia describes the mining process like this:
“In addition to lining the pockets of miners and supporting the Bitcoin ecosystem, mining serves another vital purpose: It is the only way to release new cryptocurrency into circulation. In other words, miners are basically “minting” currency. For example, as of March 2022, there were just under 19 million bitcoins in circulation, out of a total of 21 million”.
If you are interested in getting solar, but you live in an area that no longer recognizes Net Metering. You should look into converting your midday excess energy into Bitcoin! You might be pleasantly surprised at the return. Do you think that bitcoin could be the future for Solar in the US?
For more information go to Blue Sky Solar and Roofing