Rooftop solar panels are an affordable alternative to rising rates from your utility provider.
It is no secret that by the year 2020 California law requires utility providers to use renewable sources for one third of the electricity they sell. In order to avoid steep penalties the utility companies are forced to buy renewable energy from utility scale projects such as Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert. Ivanpah is an engineering marvel. It will produce enough electricity to power 140,000 southern California homes in Los Angeles and other coastal communities. The project will be partially paid for by the available 30% federal tax credit, and the system is now online. The downside to Ivanpah is the cost. At $2.2 Billion Ivanpah is 5.5 times more expensive to build than a natural gas plant with the same production capabilities. Renewable energy is undoubtedly preferred to natural gas possibly obtained by fracking and later burned to create electricity. Utility scale renewable energy projects are just too expensive at this time. To make matters worse transmission lines have to be ran all the way to the Mojave Desert to make use of the power thus increasing cost. Unfortunately these high production costs will be passed directly to rate payers. The cost has not been disclosed by utilities but experts have estimated that the electricity generated at Ivanpah will cost rate payers atleast twice as much as traditional generation methods.