It’s not surprising that utilities commonly state how residential solar power can hurt our nation’s electric grids.
As of half way through 2015, our major electric utilities are still trying to find ways to combat distributed solar power generation. It’s not a shock, of course. Solar represents a significant threat to the bottom line of these power companies. One of the many ways in which these corporations attempt to protect their current business models is to claim that residential solar power has negative consequences in relation to grid stability.
The truth is that the effects of rooftop solar on the grid is actually very positive. Let’s consider some of these solar power benefits –
#1: Reduces Overall Costs – Distributed solar power brings down utility costs by reducing the amount of energy that power companies must purchase from fossil fuel power plants.
#2: Reduces Transmission Losses – Since residential solar power generates and supplies energy where it is needed, it helps utilities avoid energy lost from long transmission and distribution distances associated with far away fossil fuel power plants.
#3: Reduces Overall Demand – This helps utilities save money because less future investments are needed for more power plants and new transmission lines.
High solar adoption locales like Hawaii do have to be careful about a surplus of electricity from solar panels being delivered to the grid. However, as economically viable storage solutions start to arrive in the near future, this will not be an issue.
The most common tactic that utilities have used to fight solar is to demand extra fees from solar adopters to help maintain the grid. This, of course, is simply a way for the power companies to try to recoup some of the money that they lose when a homeowner goes solar.
It should be plenty clear by now that residential solar power is not going anywhere. It simply makes too much environmental, financial, and grid stability sense. Many would argue that it was high time that the energy monopoly in this country was broken up, or in this case, disrupted by a technology that has finally hit its prime.
We’ll most likely see major power companies starting to offer rooftop solar power solutions in the near future. They will stand to lose a considerable amount of their customer base if they do not.
Distributed solar power will continue to change the way our electric grids are used. Traditionally, they have been absolutely vital for supplying on-demand energy for a high percentage of Americans. Eventually, as solar plus batter storage becomes commonplace, the grid will begin to act more like a battery itself – used only in emergency type situations.