Monday December 1, 2014 0 comments
SNOWMASS - A new report from Rocky Mountain Institute points to new opportunities for utilities and solar companies to work together to unlock the full value of distributed solar to customers and the grid.
The report, "Bridges to New Solar Business Models: Opportunities to Increase and Capture the Value of Distributed Solar Voltaics," said solar voltaics are growing rapidly in the U.S.
The report said by the end of last year, more than 12 GW of PV were in operation in the U.S. - an 80 percent increase since the end of 2010 - with grid-connected customer-sited installations totaling more than 50 percent of nationwide installed capacity.
Yet nationally, solar produces only 0.2 percent of electricity generation. The U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative has a target of 14 percent solar generation by 2030.
"Accelerating adoption further and creating a sustainable long-term distributed solar PV market will require taking a holistic perspective," said RMI principal Virginia Lacy, a co-author of the report.
"Major opportunities exist to build on current growth strategies to expand the market that cannot be considered if utilities or solar companies choose to act on their own."
The report notes three "building blocks" for new solar business models that decrease costs and expand benefits as solar is further integrated into the electric grid:
- Making distributed solar PV available to a much broader customer base with new options for procurement
- Designing distributed solar systems so they better align with customer and grid needs, including deploying distributed solar PV projects when and where they are most needed on the grid
- Leveraging solar PV adoption to increase the uptake of other distributed energy resource technologies - such as energy efficiency, battery energy storage, demand response and smart thermostats - to meet the needs of both customers and the grid