The technology already exists to put solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on millions of homes, but we have paid inadequate attention to getting them there. This current lack of focus on distribution will limit residential solar deployment indefinitely, unless it is addressed soon. While a number of solutions to this problem have been proposed or are in various stages of implementation, this Article finds that given the pressing need to address climate change, more rapid action is needed. In addition to pursuing other options for generating electricity using renewables (including onshore and offshore wind power, and utility-scale solar power stations), and ramping up energy efficiency and conservation efforts, we must achieve routinization in residential solar. The process of adding PV panels to American houses must become as routine as a car purchase. Residential solar can only become a widespread consumer product when the purchase and installation process transforms frorh a model that resembles custom construction (with individual homeowners effectively serving as general contractors) to one that is virtually transparent to the consumer. Overcoming the entrenched position of electric utilities, and their extensive system of subsidies, requires government support of firms that will take on the responsibility of offering residential homeowners solar panel systems. I have previously termed such firms "solar utilities" and explain in this Article why they (or some other new form of market entrant such as smart grid companies) must supplant the nascent industry of residential solar companies.
Joel B. Eisen, Residential Renewable Energy: By Whom?, 31 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. 339 (2011) (invited symposium issue).