Author Spratley argues that Fortnightly's title misrepresents his December article.
In Fortnightly's Dec. 1 issue, I was surprised to see you place a new title on my article about how states are leveraging system benefit charges to finance new photovoltaic (PV) projects (originally "Consumer Charges Power Solar Financing"). Your provocative title: "Solar Mandate? Like it or not, Consumers Pay" implies that consumers are bearing an enormous burden for solar power imposed by state policymakers.
Rather, my article showcases the states' innovation to couple customer funds with other financing, incentives and economic solar applications, seeking to offer PV technology as a realistic choice for consumers that eventually competes in the evolving retail markets as the price for PV continues to decline while demand increases.
Do consumers like solar? The overwhelming evidence in public opinion surveys shows clearly that solar is preferred over nearly every other energy source. Examples are the recent "deliberative polls" by Texas utilities or the longstanding trend in national opinion studies well documented by the National Renewable Energy Lab's Dr. Barbara Farhar.
Consumer preference for solar and other renewables has led states initially to develop a "mandate" for financing by customers. This initial financing will shape a future "market" driven by real solar choices. The renewable portfolio standard in several restructured states compliments these efforts.