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Decentralized Energy Could Revolutionize British Energy Consumption

A new report has highlighted the potential role new solar and battery technologies could have on the way we power and heat our homes and businesses.

With the continued growth in solar and battery technologies, as well as the growth in, and increasing distribution of smart meters, the way that energy is generated and managed could be steadily moving towards an era of decentralization. These are just some of the findings from a new report published earlier this month by the UK’s leading solar energy company, Lightsource Renewable Energy, leading infrastructure and private equity investment manager Foresight Group, and Good Energy, Britain’s first dedicated 100% renewable energy electricity supplier.

Over the past decade we have seen solar and battery technology breakthroughs which have sent the cost of both plummeting. Furthermore, according to the report’s authors, “the rapid falls in costs of solar panels and battery storage, combined with the roll out of smart meters and the continued development of demand side response (DSR) measures, provide the basis of a very different way of producing and consuming energy in the future.”

The report (PDF) aims to “explore the potential role of decentralized energy in meeting Britain’s energy needs and carbon reduction targets at lower cost to consumers.”

Interestingly, this report comes at a convenient time, as the UK Government looks to end government subsidies to utility-scale and small-scale solar. In fact, the consultation period for the renewable energy subsidy cuts closed last Friday — which include possible cuts of up to 87% on solar installations from next year.

“The overall aim for the solar industry has always been to get solar PV to grid parity so we can compete with any other forms of energy without subsidies,” said Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource. “The costs of solar and storage technologies are falling rapidly and we are not far off having a reliable and clean local generation technology that is at grid parity. It doesn’t just stop at solar and batteries. This is about a smart home management system.

“I hope that this report helps to build a case for retaining subsidy levels in the short term so that the UK is able to reduce the cost of future energy bills for consumers.”

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