US rooftop solar is cheaper, but the federal dollars go to the big plants.

LA Times: “The Obama administration’s solar-power initiative has fast-tracked large-scale plants, fueled by low-interest, government-guaranteed loans that cover up to 80% of construction costs. In all, the federal government has paid out more than $16 billion for renewable-energy projects.”” Those large-scale projects are financially efficient for developers, but their size creates transmission inefficiencies and higher costs for ratepayers. Smaller alternatives, from rooftop solar to small- and medium-sized plants, can do the opposite. ….Janine Blaeloch, director of the nonprofit Western Lands Project, said smaller plants were never on the table when the federal solar policy was conceived early in President Obama’s first term. Utilities and solar developers wanted big plants, so that’s what’s sprouting in Western deserts, she said. ….Utilities charge ratepayers for every dollar spent building transmission lines, for which the state of California guarantees utilities an annual return of 11% for 40 years.”