Like Night and Day: How Utilities in California and Georgia Approach Solar
This was a record-breaking year for rooftop solar power. It’s booming across the country. But as more homeowners make their own power, electric utilities are making less money, and that’s shaking up their business model.
Utilities in two states — California and Georgia — are handling the growth of solar in dramatically different ways.
Matt Brown recently got solar panels on his Oakland, Calif., home, but it’s dark out right now — his panels aren’t working. So Brown’s appliances are running on electricity he’s buying from his utility, Pacific Gas & Electric.
So even with solar panels, you might think his utility bill is pretty high.
“Right now we’re projected basically to have a zero bill,” he says. Zero dollars. That’s because during the day, when Brown’s panels are cranking out electricity, he sells the extra back to PG&E. The power he sells cancels out the power he buys. That’s what makes solar so financially attractive — at least, for him.