The Solar Home “Free Ride” Misconception

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There’s a fear among non solar users that homeowners with solar are somehow getting a “free ride” from the utility.

This is a fear based, knee jerk reaction by people who aren’t aware of how the utilities work, or who haven’t done the math, or both.

Percentage of Homes with Solar in U.S. Is Miniscule

The cost to “support” solar homes that are completely grid independent is almost irrelevant as a percentage of the total homes in the USA as far as utilities are concerned today.

There are around 2 million homes in the USA with solar out of about 130 million total homes.

That is 1.5% of the total homes.

As such, it is a rounding error for utilities who have been so monopolistic for decades that they have forgotten what competition even is.

Set the small percentage of solar homes aside for a moment, though.

It is easy for people to imagine (erroneously) that “homes with solar” are somehow only “takers” from the grid, however this is not true.

For years those homeowners supported the grid, paying whatever rate the utilities decided to charge with no choice or alternative. Meanwhile, utilities charged additional fees for grid maintenance all along that accumulated to be so much money that the states started questioning whether it was even fair for them to be making so much money.

This led to green portfolio standards limits, which is why the solar incentives were created in the first place… the utilities openly supported these rules (until the rules started actually catching on with consumers…).

So, now we have 2 million solar homes that are using solar but most are simultaneously connected to the grid and continue paying monthly fees to the utility – just to be connected!

So, the idea that the homes with solar are somehow getting a free ride is erroneous.

The homes people who are concerned about the “free ride” are referencing are those homeowners who are completely grid independent because they have installed solar plus a battery backup system.

The solar + battery homes are but a fraction of the 2 million solar homes, and frankly if they get access to the grid for free – more power to them.