US Utilities Fear Solar Power-Inflicted Obsolescence
There's a seemingly common belief that even as solar power takes off, utility companies will retain their hold on energy markets as the need for standard electrical grids remain.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Inhabitat.
#1 Apr 13, 2013
"But a report from the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI), a trade group of US utilities, doesn’t have a particularly optimistic outlook for their own long-established business model. They predict solar-based off-grid power usage to take off, which could cause rates for conventional utilities to skyrocket. Ostensibly, they fear the demise of their industry."
Read more: US Utilities Fear Solar Power-Inflicted Obsolescence | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
Charley also mentions the "business model" of the power utility industry. There is great promise and profitability in the alternative energy industry, even when it is "over the grid". Figure, the more homes and businesses that put solar PV or even hot water on their roofs are giving the utilities a respite from filing EIRs, going to court to defend a new power project or even maintaining the system the home owner/business owner who installs solar PV on their property. Now comes the new business model. It seems almost wrote drone of how individuals will "drive up the cost" of energy by generating their own. Most net metering contracts between individual home owner/generators gives the home owner an energy credit for the power they produce and send back into the grid. It will usually go right next door or across the street to the neighbors house where it will be used AND billed at the usual retail rate per KWh. So, where is the power utility losing out? Where the utilities ARE failing is not installing very large energy storage facilities along the grid to more effectively use the alternative energy created and sent into the grid. With storage capacity, the Country could actually lessen the amount of fossil fuels needed to create energy. If you have a National Net energy storage account, then one could start using it to power their daily commutes to and from work. Census numbers seem to suggest there are 126 million buildings in the U.S. If one was to install a 6KW peak solar PV system on each roof, you could generate 3TW (terra watts) of electricity each day. Probably on average more. Of course some of these buildings are large box stores, warehouses and factories. The roofs of these types of buildings offer real estate for solar PV that could support 100KW peak generation up to around 1MW of daily generation. Perhaps it's time for the power utilities to "partner" with the public, instead of fighting for a power supply monopoly.
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