Is your ready utility? New report says Local solar could provide 10% of the country in 10 years

Within a decade, more than 35 million buildings can generate their own Solar (without subsidies) electricity at prices lower than their utility offers, enough to power nearly 10% of the country.

This is the powerful title of the Institute for the latest report of Local Self-Reliance, Commercial revolution on the roof.  Despite the opportunity, commercial, regulatory and political are largely unprepared for the growth of the local solar energy.

In Minnesota, for example, the largest utility in the State expects just 20 megawatts of new solar power over the next 13 years, according to its project with the public utility Commission.  But within 10 years, according to the report, non-subsidized solar electricity will be so little expensive as 200 times more solar (more than 4,000 megawatts) can be installed on the roofs of Minnesota homes and businesses, provide lower cost electricity as the utility.

It is just an alarm clock, among many others in the commercial revolution on the roof.  A solar revolution that was largely confined to the generous Sun (California) or electricity high price (New Jersey), or both (Hawaii) will spread rapidly in the years to come.  Public services in unexpected States such as Tennessee, Wisconsin and Nebraska will face huge competition from solar energy on the inexpensive roof in 2022.

Many utilities and State regulatory commissions see the value in solar energy and realizing that the perceived barriers are not as large as they had feared.  Austin Energy, a municipal utility in Texas, now pays a premium of non-subvention for solar because it allows to compensate expensive peak power purchases.  In Hawaii, regulators have changed archaic limit to correspond to renewable technologies.  The grid of California legislators has increased the amount of solar energy allowed to use net metering to offset electricity on-site.  And Colorado and Vermont capped costs and streamlined for solar.

With a solar market thanks to the cheaper electricity, electrical system of Hawaii can evoke the coming paradigm shift.   One of the Utility Commissioners of public utility by the State notes before the transition to be domineering grille animators, to be inflexible in its flexibility.  They will have to switch from a dependence on plants for coal and nuclear power controlled by the utility, large, centralized in an agile mix of flexible energy as the energy storage of response to the request or natural gas.   Already, the State is one of the 14 States with CLEAN local or based on the State of the political contract (a.k.a. feed-in tariff) that greatly simplify the process to go solar for residential and other electric customers.

The cost of solar energy falls quickly or solar difficult utility local prices throughout the country, ILSR report suggests that the utilities will have to accommodate a movement towards the production of local and affordable energy.

There will be more changes over the next 10 years that utilities have had to face in the 100 last. And they had better prepare.

See a summary of the report in the slides below:

Is your ready utility for a solar revolution on the roof? John Farrell

Main image: high-voltage lines through Shutterstock