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Shop Local… for Energy

You have heard the term “buy local”, but we’re not talking about vegetables this time.Like locally grown carrots, solar energy produced by your neighbor is far more efficient when you cut out the economic and environmental costs of transportation.

More than 10% of the electricity generated at a centralized power plant is lost by the time it reaches your home.This means you are being billed for 10% more energy than you are actually consuming.Solar energy fed into the local grid not only addresses the issue of wasted energy due to transport, but also provides residents with an incentive to go solar when they receive payment for this market good through a program called Net Energy Metering (NEM).

Sounds like a win-win.Here’s the problem – utility companies don’t want to pay the fair market value of energy to those creating it on top of their roofs.Currently, producers of dirty energy receive greater compensation than those individuals creating solar power at home.The price paid for electricity should be consistent, regardless of how or by whom it was generated.When a home equipped with solar pa

nels yields more energy than it consumes, these kilowatts are pushed back into the grid and distributed locally.However, the extra 10% saved thanks to decentralized distribution is not factored into NEM pricing.Meanwhile, utilities make out like bandits off the free solar energy returned to the grid by those who have invested personal dollars in sun power.

NEM benefits everyone – customers, utility companies, and the environment.We should all be championing the efficient production of electricity by fairly rewarding those who create it locally.What can be done?An independent review determining the hidden value of local power generation is an important first step.Let your state representatives know free market energy rate start at home!