Tea Party groups join solar fight against utilities
- Tea Party groups across the U.S. are teaming up with the solar industry and environmental groups to advance solar-friendly policies and resist utilities' efforts to eliminate net metering.
- In Georgia, for example, the Green Tea Coalition, a Tea Party group, is working with the Sierra Club, the nation's largest environmental group, to support solar and oppose Southern Co.'s high-cost nuclear plans such as Vogtle. “Some people have called this an unholy alliance,” said Debby Dooley, founder of the Green Tea Coalition and co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. “We agree on the need to develop clean energy, but not much else.”
- “The free market approach works well in Republican circles, so I can understand how these strange bedfellows come together,” said Frank Maisano, an energy specialist at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. “It becomes an economic argument.”
It may seem odd, but the support for rooftop solar fits naturally with the Tea Party philosophy. Distributed solar systems empower consumers to be less reliant on electric utilities and embody that treasured American value of independence. No doubt that Tea Partiers' support for rooftop solar does not sit well with utilities that oppose net metering in traditionally red states.