ENERGY - Recently I got a quote on the cost of installing solar electricity producing panels on my home's roof. While the total price for panels and a backup battery system seemed reasonable, it still required a significant cash outlay of thousands of dollars.
One fact I was then told blew my mind; Only 17% of the solar panels’ total production of electricity fulfilled all of my home's electricity needs. But the additional 83% of the electricity produced was taken for free by LADWP and charged to other residential and commercial customers of LADWP. Is this what a supposed public utility should do?
What if we offered solar panels to everyone at no initial out of pocket cost on a model akin to a house mortgage, where the 83% or other positive surplus electricity produced by your solar panels would be used over a 20 or 30 year timeframe to pay off the cost of all solar panels installed in the same manner that one pays off a house mortgage.
In addition to causing a huge increase to solar energy production systems at no present out of pocket expense, that would encourage the majority of people to retrofit most buildings, commercial as well as residential
The batteries in these now pervasive solar systems throughout the country would have the collateral effect of making electric cars more practical and user friendly, since you could now charge your electric at your home and not some inconvenient public charging station of limited numbers and waiting lines.
The coordinated use of non-carbon energy production systems has the ability to bring global warming to a halt, if we finally learn to put human survival on this planet ahead of short term capital gains.
(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second-generation teacher at LAUSD.)