What the Future of Solar Might Look Like

Just saw this analysis on RenewEconomy.  It takes an interesting look at what the future might look like re off-grid and solar storage.  The one thing that's clear is how solar is gaining momentum faster than many of us thought only a year ago.

Here's an excerpt:

The future in which power company customers transitioning to solar electricity generation can choose to either maintain grid connection or cost-effectively generate off-grid has arrived. The implications of this reality, however, are only just beginning to dawn.

Rising on the horizon of a new solar energy era, concerns for stranded assets are keeping power company stakeholders up at night. Equally disconcerting, low- and fixed-income electricity consumers with no financial ability to upgrade to solar will find themselves unable to handle higher utility bills as electricity prices increase, due to increased grid-defection.

Only with an informed roadmap of the economic implications of America’s rising love affair with solar energy, can we navigate a socially just and economically viable way forward. The Economics of Load Defection, a new report released by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), offers this roadmap.

Noting that retail prices for grid electricity are climbing while costs for solar PV and batteries are declining, The Economics of Load Defection projects the coming electricity load and revenue loss that utilities could well face in the coming 10–15 years. Implications for utility companies and regulators are clearly detailed in the new report, as well as possible paths forward.

Solar-plus-battery systems are expected to play a major role in America’s future electricity grid. But exactly what that role will be is not yet clear. Retail pricing structures, utility business models, and regulatory frameworks are all evolving at a steady pace, and outcomes of these evolutionary processes will largely determine which trajectory the grid will follow into the rising solar energy era.

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