In a recent article on NBC.com, which is copied from her New York Times article, Dianne Cardwell documents how U.S. electricity companies are ramping up their efforts against residential solar. You see, the issue is, and the power companies are sort of not really prepared for this . . . but after several decades of predictions that Solar power would finally become competitive, it actually now is competitive. People putting solar panels on their rooftops was fine with the power company executives for many years because, you know, it didn't really MATTER. It was sort of cute, really. All those naive environmentally minded citizens thinking they could get along with the grid.
Over the years, laws have been put in place to promote home solar. Many states have tax rebates or credits to help a homeowner buy a solar panel system for their house. I've wanted to do this for several decades, so I've been following the trends. I read Home Power Magazine for a long time before home solar became a real thing . . . you know, serious and less fun. Back in the 80s, a full solar array for a home with the supporting electronics and cabling could run $50,000 or more. Most home systems are around 2.5kW, which is enough to run basically everything except the two big things; home heating and home air conditioning. A typical home roof isn't big enough for a system to run everything, and most people don't have a spare acre or two on which to ground mount enough panels to do that. Plus, having a full 10kW of solar panels is pretty inefficient since you only need it about 20% of the time in most locations, so the extra power generated would be wasted. So homeowners who wanted to go solar had a choice, either cut back on comfort in the form of heating and air conditioning, go to some other old-school method like wood stoves and fans, spend a lot more money for another system like a ground temperature cooling system, or figure out a way to have both solar and regular grid power.