Why net energy metering is unfair and inefficient.
Charles E. Bayless is a board member at Pike Electric, Recycled Energy Development, and West Virginia American Water. Previously he has serviced as chairman, president, and CEO of Illinova Corp., of its subsidiary Illinois Power, and of Tucson Electric Power (UniSource Energy), and as President of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Ideas that create an entirely new business model rarely come along. Think Henry Ford's perfection of mass production. The Internet, perhaps, is another.
So must we now add rooftop solar to this short list? But I warn you. Take care before answering. The answer is not as simple as it seems.
Consider a mythical company that I'll call Piggyback Air, a brand new startup passenger airline with boundless ambition. Yet Piggyback Air has a problem. Its airplane engines aren't very reliable. They run only about 40 percent of the time, and are known to quit even in mid-flight. What to do. Replace those engines?
No, Piggyback's CEO had a better idea. He would attach and bolt his planes atop those of a competitor, Sitting Duck Air, which flies planes with much more reliable engines. The Piggyback plan would then just go along for the ride, just as NASA years ago would perch the space shuttle atop a Boeing 747. Piggyback's piggybacking planes would help supply engine power for this awkward gangly looking flying machine, but if the Piggyback plane saw its engines cut out, as they always did, its passengers would still be OK. The more reliable engines on the Sitting Duck plane would keep them aloft.