The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held it’s national convention in Salt Lake City this fall. It is the largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in the country. It got them thinking about how to ensure that Hispanics remain an economic force in America. Hispanic owned businesses have nearly doubled to over 3 million in the last decade, growing at about 7 percent annually from 2007-2013, compared to the avg. of about 3 percent. Central to this continued growth is making sure Hispanics have access to reliable and affordable electricity power to homes and businesses.
While many in our community receive the benefit of reliable and affordable energy, even the installation and use of solar panels, Hispanics are being hit with high electricity bills because of a public policy called net metering. These policies need to be amended.
This policy called net metering lets household with rooftop solar panels offset their electricity bills by receiving credit for the energy that they produce. By rewarding solar customers too much, these consumers bypass paying for some of the costs of the grids.
Who is forced to pick up the slack? Everyone who does not have rooftop solar, and specifically the lower income and minority communities, including Hispanics. They are forced to essentially subsidize these rooftop solar systems because they can’t afford to own them themselves. In California, a report found that the typical rooftop solar customer made an average household income of $91,000, compared to the national median income for Hispanics which is $39,005. Net metering results in a faulty transaction at best. These people with fewer incomes and fewer resources should not fall prey to this cost shift.
Minority and lower-income communities can find common cause with an array of other Americans, facing obstacles on installation, in resisting the unfair cost shift that’s occurring because of net-metering policies.
Our communities economic growth and well-being can’t be held back because some of us are forced to finance other people’s rooftop solar usage.
Read the article here.