- Centralized energy monopolies are threatened by the rising tide of decentralized energy resources available to the people.
- Utilities are moving toward renewables to maintain their energy monopoly.
- Cheap solar hardware prices and energy company bureaucracies are getting more people to make the jump to solar PV and energy storage.
- Enphase Energy is helping spread decentralized solar PV and energy storage at a blistering pace.
- Do not let the monopolies kill residential solar or the electric vehicle (again).
People are being awakened to new alternatives to the long-standing, well-established, centralized energy monopoly, and with this awakening, new emerging markets like residential solar PV and energy storage, are threatening the 100-year-old energy monopoly. Social media like Twitter, FaceBook, and YouTube are accelerating the adoption of new ideas and technologies more quickly than ever before. And political populism is in the air - people know that the monopolies are trying to wrangle power from them, literally, and the nascent residential solar PV and energy storage markets are gaining momentum.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH), a pillar in the residential solar PV market, and preferred by installers, is rescuing homeowners, allowing them to escape their energy company's "plantation". Enphase Energy's technology is the epitome of decentralized power andwhat residential solar photovoltaics ((PV)) is all about. Solar PV and energy storage systems are mini-utilities which allow residential homeowners, apartment complexes, small businesses, et cetera, to have their "own" energy, and with the advent of residential energy storage, a "real" alternative to the energy monopoly is being exposed.
Nevertheless, investors in the residential solar PV and energy storage markets need to be aware that in the upcoming election in their specific state, there may be questions on the ballot which affect the longevity of residential solar PV and energy storage. Bureaucracy can either set a level playing field between the utilities and residential PV owners, or it can set a rigged field thereby giving the utilities the upper hand. For example, an amendment question sponsored by the energy monopolies, which is appearing on the ballot in Florida this November, aims to undermine solar. If you are not with the sponsors of this amendment, then the only correct answer is a resounding "No", for although many people may not own a solar PV system or drive an electric vehicle (EV) today, they surely could tomorrow!
In Nevada, ex-GOP governor, Bob List, recently said, "All we're asking for is a level playing field", while speaking on behalf of SolarCity (SCTY), when he decried how the energy monopoly was destroying residential solar PV in his state along with thousands of jobs. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, whose top political advisors are NV Energy shill lobbyists, turned a blind eye, asking that protesting solar PV customers try to be "civil" and accept the railroading the puppets on the Nevada PUC were committing against them, or better yet, what their billionaire sponsors behind the curtain had ordered them to do. And if you think the utilities sympathize with residential solar PV one iota, then think again; it was Warren Buffett who smugly said - "People buy utilities not to get rich but to stay rich" and as owner of NV Energy, his statement pretty much sums up what the consensus of energy monopolies feel for residential solar PV; he even had the audacity to go further, and say that solar PV customers were subsidizing non-solar PV customers, when it was taxpayers that paid for Crescent Dunes to the tune of $737 million. Furthermore, energy monopolies can deduct their maintenance expenses, yet solar customers are not allowed to fully deduct the costs of installing and maintaining their solar PV system, so who is really being subsidized? It's really just another example of Big Government hand-outs to Big Business for more centralized power, and it's happening all over the country. What if the money provided by the Dept. of Energy for Crescent Dunes had been distributed to have a real trickle-down effect, something politicians always mention - $737 million would equate to $15,000 for almost 50,000 homes in and around Las Vegas - practically a solar PV system for every rooftop, and just imagine the employment explosion - now that's real trickle-down economics!
Besides a 110-Megawatt solar PV farm, Crescent Dunes also has 1,100-Megawatts of storage, so again, why wasn't that distributed; if it had gone up for a vote by the people on an election ballot, then the centralized energy project would never have happened. Just consider that solar is the largest, employment-growth industry in the country, and bureaucrats and greedy capitalists in Nevada killed it, so the few could continue to enjoy their "power" monopoly. And just whose grid is it anyway? Didn't taxpayers pay for the grid? Isn't it taxpayer money that has paid for huge expansive solar and energy storage farms doled out by our government to Big Business?
Soon, a generation of old capitalists will pass and leave millenials to deal with the environmental and financial effects (or ruin) caused by the energy monopolies. When it comes to the energy monopolies, the old fossil fuel-based industries are giving way to the renewables. People want to save the Earth; whether they believe in "climate change" or not, infinite renewable energies make sense over finite fossil fuels. People genuinely do not want to destroy the planet with the outcome being a runaway greenhouse effect analogous to planet Venus. And Matt Damon sure showed what life on Mars would be like, so escaping Earth to go to Mars is not really an option no matter how cool Musk's SpaceX and Bezos'es Blue Origin may be. Those who saw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" also became instant believers that changes in human lifestyles had to start being made, and it is this global movement that has provided the fodder for an emerging new industry called Renewable Energy.
However, when it comes to transforming our power energy sources from fossil fuels to renewables, the old monopolies do not want to lose their control; they want the taxpayers to pay for huge projects to build solar PV farms with energy storage, so that they can continue to maintain their monopoly on energy. They want people to think that they are the "friendly" utilities on their web sites and media advertisements, but in reality, they're really just bureaucratic monopolies in need of serious regulation. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and just putting the spotlight on what happened in Nevada, with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company-owned NV Energy and the puppet politicians, shows the danger residential solar PV and energy storage are truly in.
So, why are the energy monopolies coming down so hard on solar now since it has been available since the 1980's? Because with the recent arrival of energy storage technology, solar PV, combined with energy storage, makes for a dynamic duo that really threatens the 100-year-old hegemony of the energy monopolies. Eventually with energy storage, you'll be able to meet your home's energy needs - when the sun goes down your batteries take over, and then at sunrise, your solar PV resumes power and charges the batteries back up! The energy companies don't want you to know that their power is threatened by solar PV + energy storage, and they definitely don't want homeowners to have their own power! Decentralized power means the huge investments in renewable energy infrastructure like solar PV farms with huge amounts of storage will not be needed as much; it means their true power will be diminished, and it means huge downsizing for their stale business model. Imagine if people had solar on their rooftops and battery storage in their garages - you really would only need the energy company as a backup. You wouldn't need them as much, they could be downsized, and your monthly energy bill could get even cheaper. In Las Vegas, residents enjoy sunshine ~300 days out of the year, and even the rest of the days of the year still offer enough ambient light for solar to work well - it is a solar PV paradise, yet puppet politicians and greedy billionaires have seriously obstructed the residential solar PV market there.
But, the utilities will claim that the solar PV and energy storage customers must be charged extra because they'll still be using the electric grid for backup. It's almost analogous to landline phones back in the '80's, where the Bell utilities painted a grim picture, too, threatening what would happen if cell phone use proliferated; again, their monopoly was being threatened. The real reason the energy monopolies are making false claims like this is that IF they don't, then the whole idea of them getting the People to pay for the huge transformation of their utilities from fossil fuels to renewables will have to be their burden, and they don't want to have to pay for that. If the utilities have to pay for this infrastructure and not their customers, then what's going to happen to the dividends for their shareholders? Does anyone really believe the mainstream media these days?
News of the ITC expiring at the end of 2016 (but it didn't!) or NEM and FiTs ending made it seem like solar was doomed, but it was really doomed for the SolarCity and Vivint Solar (VSLR) business models that rely on PPA leases and retail reimbursement for their deals to be worth it. With wholesale-reimbursement replacing retail-reimbursement for electricity in NEM and FiTs, the leasing model may be dead, but not the residential solar PV and energy storage markets. From every solar professional, distributor and web site I've corresponded with in the last few months, residential solar PV and now, energy storage, is booming, and that is because of cheap solar hardware and bureaucracies. A low-cost solar PV system can now be purchased for almost $1/Watt material cost, so why lease when you can own? Then you also have the bureaucracies of the energy monopolies trying to stifle all threats through concocted TOU rates, demand-charge and grid-connect fees in order to protect their monopoly. All over the country, energy monopolies are trying to get the regulators to increase grid connect fees - like the APS utility in Arizona this year that wanted up to $100 per month just to be connected to the grid; they want residential solar PV dead - for them, it's no longer a "cool" idea, it's a threat to their stale business model. But, the truth is becoming quite plain to see - everyone can have solar now; the technology is here!
I can't mention every state where residential solar PV is at risk of being adversely affected in the November election, but of the 50 states in the U.S., the "Sunshine State" (Florida) has to be one of the worst states for solar. Even northern states like New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts have more solar than Florida; it is truly pathetic, and is a measurable effect of monopolistic policy. The cabal of monopoly utilities and their bureaucracies keep solar off the roofs in Florida. and they are to blame. In Florida on November 8th, this "cabal"calling themselves "Consumers for Smart Solar" is trying to sneak passage of an amendment which would give the utilities a blank check to charge residential solar PV customers with concocted grid-connection fees and other billing shenanigans. Almost $30 million has been poured into the propaganda machine to trick people into siding with the monopoly utilities on amendment #1. Imagine if the utilities were truly customer-friendly and gave that money back to the community in the form of solar incentives. Entitled "Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice", this amendment is being backed by Florida Power and Light (NEE), Duke Energy (DUK), Tampa Electric, Gulf Power, along with the billionaire Koch brothers and Exxon-Mobil (XOM). People want companies to be profitable, but they do not want a rigged system where Big Business colludes with Big Government. Monopolies lead toward stagnation, and if our country doesn't return to laissez-faire capitalism, and continues down the dark path of crony capitalism, then many forms of stagnation will occur, including in markets like residential solar PV and energy storage - markets which can truly save the Earth for our children.
The bureaucracy of the utilities is causing a surge in people fleeing the centralized energy monopoly. Demand for residential solar PV and energy storage is skyrocketing right now in Australia and New Zealand. It's almost as if the rates and fees concocted by the utilities to deter people from going solar, is actually making them adopt solar even quicker. And even more exciting than the news coming from the Land Down Under, is the news of Enphase's storage solution coming to the U.S. in Q1 2017. People want freedom from energy tyranny, and Enphase Energy is going to give it to them!
An earlier article discussed why decentralized solar PV systems were more desirable over centralized ones. Enphase residential solar PV and storage system installations are popping up online all over the world at a blistering pace; people are rushing to get them installed so that they can escape the bureaucracy of the power companies. Just like cars and aviation brought freedom of mobility, Internet and social media brought freedom of speech, so too, shall residential solar PV and energy storage bring freedom of power!
With Enphase's new storage market and their new line of microinverters with major cost reductions, with the energy monopoly bureaucracies forcing people to seek out alternative forms of energy, with the NEC 2017 standards favoring residential solar companies like Enphase Energy, and with a major crash in solar hardware prices, Enphase's future looks very promising. Listed below are sensational statistics for Enphase solar systems which have come online in just the last 8 weeks, and this does not even include additions to existing systems!
Enlightened Enphase customers from 9/2 thru 10/25:
- Western USA - over 4% growth
- Mid-USA - almost 3% growth
- Eastern-USA - over 4% growth
- Southeastern USA - over 5% growth
- Mexico & Central America - over 30% growth
- South America - almost 9% growth
- United Kingdom - almost 3% growth
- Europe - almost 7% growth
- India - Sri Lanka regions - almost 15% growth
- Hawaii - almost 2% growth
- Northern Australia - solid 11% growth
- Southwestern Australia - solid 9% growth
- Eastern Australia - almost 8% growth
- New Zealand - almost 10% growth
Considering (1) the tsunami of residential solar PV installation activity happening all over the world, (2) that local installers prefer Enphase microinverters due to their simplicity and ease of installation (3) and that the residential solar and storage market penetration is barely at 1%, then as long as residential solar PV is not killed by the energy monopolies, then companies like Enphase Energy are looking at a huge market. If the energy bills are going to continue to get more and more like the IRS tax code with all sorts of concocted rates and fees, then bureaucracy could also be a catalyst to finally push people over the edge, getting them to adopt solar PV and energy storage for the majority of their home's energy needs. Consider just the half-million EV owners, then the multitudes considering one, and finally, the governments' abandonement of fossil fuels due to "climate change" agendas; people are going to despise the energy monopolies when they go to charge their 85kWh Tesla S EV battery overnight and then get clobbered with an outrageous bill just for charging it, and they will demand regulation of the energy utilities to create a level playing field.
For example - say you're charging your 30kWh Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) Leaf-S with a Level-2 7.2kW home-charging-station @ $15/kW/month demand-charge fee, then you're looking at a $108 monthly demand-charge fee plus other concocted charges. Or, how about your Tesla (TSLA) Model S top-of-the-line 100kWh battery and 20kW dual-charger, then you might be looking at a hefty $300 demand-charge fee plus whatever other fees are tacked on! Sounds crazy, right? But, these utilities want your savings to land in their pockets. Also consider that if you're charging the EV with the A/C or pool pump on, then you're making the energy company an even bigger winner, because the demand-charge fee will be even higher!
With demand-charge fees being imposed in Australia and New Zealand, why do you think Enphase had over 70,000 orders this summer for their sleek, modular new AC Battery? Not only do the energy monopolies have the power to potentially kill residential solar PV with their loan-shark-style billing, but they could also seriously harm the nascent EV market, too. How many remember the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" back in 2006 which was about the eradication of the electric vehicle back in the 1990's by Big Government and the oil monopolies - could it happen again, but this time due to the meddling of the energy monopolies? Possibly, but be forewarned, the nebulous demand-charge fee is far more lucrative for the energy monopolies than people realize, and the packaging of this fee by the utilities as they force this upon their customers should scream - Caveat Emptor!
Residential solar PV and storage is the solution to the shenanigans of the energy monopolies when it comes to Time of Use (TOU) rates and demand-charge fees. But, if the utilities can't kill solar that way, then they'll definitely go for the killer grid-connect fees, and that is exactly why they're trying to sneak in all sorts of legislation in state amendments and PUC policy agendas. Remember your history - there was much bloodshed to obtain the Magna Carta in 1215, and the whole point of that was to put limitations on feudal payments to the Crown; well the "Crown" can now be symbolized by the selfish energy monopolies in bed with our lame government.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8th, and residential solar PV and energy storage, as well as the incentives for buying an EV could be at risk in some states. Will the outcomes of the election in each state safeguard power to the people, or will it surrender power to the few so that they can continue to profit off of the people? One things is for sure, some companies will be propped up as a result of the election, and others will be undermined, and "we the people" won't know until the following sunrise. Long live residential solar PV -- power to the people!
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