No surprise –the N&R and John Locke Foundation have differing views on “Energy Freedom” legislation working its way through the legislature.

Bottom line — Rep. John Szoka’s bill would allow off-the-electric-grid third-party sales from solar farms directly to consumers, which is currently prohibited in North Carolina. N&R says ‘let the sun shine’:

Enough members of both parties should recognize the advantages of getting behind a plan that lets market forces push an energy source that offers obvious long-term advantages. Not only is solar energy clean, it’s free and abundant. Costs associated with capturing it and turning it into electricity are decreasing rapidly. This bill makes sense for North Carolina.

While JLF’s Roy Cordato writes:

If an industry can provide its product only by using the government to force others to deal with it, then it is not an industry that can be functional in a truly free market. This is the case for the solar power industry, including what are called third-party sales of solar-generated electricity.

In fact, third-party sales of solar power can be sustained only in a market dominated as it is by utility regulations and government subsidies. The solar power industry as we know it is a creature of government, and allowing third-party sales will not change that.

This is a bipartisan bill, with sponsors including local Reps. Pricey Harrison, Jon Hardister and John Faircloth.