Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

RSSfeedRSSfeed Registered Users Posts: 3,810 ✭✭
feature-0-1382712037653.jpg It's an exciting time for the solar industry. Deployment is up sharply — photovoltaics (PV) alone have seen 73 percent annual growth, on average, from 2000 through 2012, and costs are down dramatically over that same period. And now, storage technologies are poised for similar growth and cost-reduction trajectories as many new competitors enter the market. Lux Research, for example, projects that storage technologies integrated with solar will grow from a market of less than $100 million in 2013 to close to $2 billion by 2018.

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  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    Having worked around the Texas Electric Commission for a couple of years now, I can say that Texas Co-Ops are not "missing an opportunity". They are facing an unknown.

    There are very few established factors, non-existent legislation, and no previous data on which to develop a strategy. The implementation moves slowly, cautiously, and carefully. At least in the domain of Co-Ops, they simply don't have the infrastructure to "finance solar and storage", so what RSS feed refers to as 'opportunity', is not really that at all. It's an unknown without legal precedence (in Texas).
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    And not all utilities are in Texas.
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    only the ones that matter :D
    And not all utilities are in Texas.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?
    bmet wrote: »
    There are very few established factors, non-existent legislation, and no previous data on which to develop a strategy.

    That's how the opportunities look like. There's no opportunities where everything is established and known.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?
    bmet wrote: »
    only the ones that matter :D

    Think APS would beg to differ (Arizona)

    They haven't missed an opportunity to SLAM solar here tho.
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?
    MikeSus wrote: »
    Think APS would beg to differ (Arizona)

    They haven't missed an opportunity to SLAM solar here tho.

    Perhaps co-ops in Texas will get to that point, but they are not there yet. In fact, a couple of them have went forward with building systems and publishing the costs as an initial investigation into the possibility. I have a PowerPoint from one of the co-ops with all the statistics surrounding small and medium solar/wind 'installs', not sure how to post it on the Internet tho. The data is actually freely available on the co-op's web site, but the PowerPoint compresses it all into a convenient format.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    Think I have seen that. Its around but the powers that be get nervous when you post links to things like that. Basically the gist was close to what is happening here, rooftop solar costs you and your neighbors in higher fees/rates.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    It is but a variation on the theme we are seeing everywhere:

    They tell you to conserve energy. You do so. So they tell you they have to up the fees because they're not making enough money on per kW hour charges to pay the bills.

    Solar is, in essence, another form of conservation in that is primarily reduces the load demand of a particular household.

    Secondarily it is a generation source, albeit one the utility can not control and (in most places) must by at whatever rate. This lack of control is what upsets most companies, as they can turn power plants on/off as needed but not solar.

    Third in line is how this affects planning generation; if solar installs become common enough they will be dealing with megawatts of power coming on-line when the sun shines. This really would not be an easy thing to cope with.

    Fourth, and perhaps worst of all, if society starts counting on in-home solar as a generation source then that would lead to usage expansion. Since people expect all power to be available 24/7 this would necessitate additional power plant capacity to provide the expected power when the solar source is not functioning.

    I did not make this stuff up. The basis of the information was imparted to me by someone who is key in designing grid management systems. Basically, expanding solar has utility companies worried. Primarily because they feel it will eat into their profits. By the time you get to the fourth item it represent huge capital investment to companies that are reluctant to replace a piece of wire lest it affect the bottom line of accounts.

    Apparently APS and others have decided to be defensive by going on the offensive, trying to convince the population at large that solar is worse than non-viable but actually detrimental.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are Utilities Missing an Opportunity to Finance Solar and Storage?

    The problem is that when you start buying into the whole conservation thing, they use higher rates as "incentives" to save more. Except they will keep charging you more as their fixed overhead costs haven't gone away. Look to California for the future...
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