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Clinton plan to power U.S. homes with renewable energy in 10 years is doable

Lucas Mearian | Aug. 4, 2015
Supplying all the America's power with solar requires a relatively small amount of real estate.

However, some utilities are moving away from that rate structure, and are instead  charging solar customers a monthly fixed charge; that effectively raises the cost of solar power and dis-incentivizes roof-top solar systems, according to Mark Barineau, an analyst with Lux Research.

Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have implemented net metering policies, some of which are more favorable than others. All turn the power grid into a two-way street.

Many states, such as Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Wisconsin, are discussing or have passed revisions to their net metering policies that would included fixed monthly surcharges for residences and businesses that install solar to make it less competitive with conventional forms energy.

The last major issue relates to the power grid integrating a large amount of intermittent solar energy,

Barineau said utilities would still need to have back-up generation available and on standby to respond to grid issues or a lack of sunlight.

"For wide-scale deployment of solar to power the homes in America, a significant amount of energy storage -- most likely, batteries -- would be required, and at the moment, the economics are not quite there to support the proposed solar deployment," Barineau said.

All-electric car maker Tesla and others have been ramping up efforts to boost the amount of battery systems for businesses and homes.

In the end, Clinton would be challenged to reinstate the ITC, spur new renewable incentives and affect change at the state and local level in order to make her renewable dreams a reality.

"Anything is possible, but is it realistic? At this point, it looks more like a typical campaign goal to energize the donors and the base," Prabhu said.


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