On-site solar power could hasten US utility ‘death spiral’, report finds


Rooftop solar power coupled with battery energy storage could enable ‘widespread customer defection’ from the US electric grid by 2025, new analysis has found.

A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute energy think tank, microgrid modeling software company Rooftop solar Homer Energy and renewable energy consultancy CohnReznick Think Energy looked at five US states (Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Texas and New York) in different regions of the country to identify when and how combined rooftop solar and battery storage could disrupt existing utility business models.  

According to the report, Hawaii has already achieved grid parity for commercial customers, while York and California could do so for residential and commercial customers before 2020. In all five states, the report said, ‘a considerable number of utility customers will likely see favourable defection economics within 10 years’.

‘Solar-plus-storage represents a fundamentally new paradigm,’ said Rocky Mountain Institute managing director Jon Creyts. ‘While other distributed generation options still require some degree of grid dependence, solar-plus-storage provides an opportunity for customers to cut the cord to their utility entirely.’

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