After many years of incentives, subsidized prices, and support policies, the drop of prices of photovoltaic solar panels has become a reality. The price of a 6 kilowatt system in USA is about $20,000 and it is increasingly attractive to install solar energy in your house to produce the electricity that you need, straight from sunlight. If this move becomes a massive one, it may become a major step towards a more environmental friendly energy production system. Energy will be produced with very low carbon emission cost (that made when producing the solar cells) and in a decentralized way, so that everyone will manage their own energy. The rooftop panel can be connected to the electricity grid to obtain electricity when the sun doesn’t shine, and the surplus of solar energy produced in the house can be fed to the grid, inverting the counter and creating credit for the owner. Another major step has occurred a few weeks ago when Tesla announced the commercialization of a very attractive home battery that can store the electricity. In this way the house may become completely independent of the electricity grid. According to Emily Barone, writing in Time last week, the demand for rooftop solar panels is heating up: a record 187,000 U.S. homeowners installed solar panels in 2014.
However, this silent revolution is not pleasing everybody. The utilities are fearing that they will loose a lot of clients, so they are opposing fiercely the decentralized system. A strong campaign has been launched in many US states in order to impose penalties to self production, with the argument that the absent people should also contribute to sustain the grid. In Spain, right-winged PP government has repeatedly announced that it will take measures to charge heavily self production of solar energy in the houses. This is not surprising, since former top politicians of all signs now serve as advisors of the major utilities (this is one prominent example of so-called “revolving doors”). In Spain, with such abundance of solar irradiation, the notion that one should pay to juice the sunlight is strikingly odd to a majority of the population. But a few people with mega-salaries can do a great job at protecting the interest of a few. If such thing happens, it will not be a total surprise .