Fearing lost profits, the nation's investor-owned utilities are moving to blot out the solar revolution.
"For Cynthia Cantero, putting solar panels atop her Oahu, Hawaii, home seemed like a no-brainer. In a state where most electricity is generated by burning pricey imported oil and where electricity rates are three times the U.S. average, she considered making her own power "a godsend."
The 54-year-old cancer patient and mother of five researched and shopped for months to put together her solar deal: She and her husband would secure a home equity loan to pay off mounting medical bills, buy a badly needed new family car, and install a solar array large enough for all of their electricity needs. Their loan payments would be less than the family's current $500-plus monthly electric bill, and once they paid off the note, their home would be powered practically for free."
"I thought I was doing the right thing for my family and the environment, and so I could know my children would be taken care of after I'm gone," Cantero says. "Here I am stuck in a nightmare, where a powerful utility can just change the rules while I lose everything."