The solar-friendly voices at CleanTechnica.com have been saying it; solar advocates everywhere have been saying it; Californians have been saying it — solar saves.
Solar saves money, saves the environment, and saves lives in this way. Yes, Californians just saved $192 million via rooftop solar and energy efficiency. Why are so many others still so slow to take advantage of energy efficiency and renewables?
Greentech Media shares more perspective on this: “Consumer investments in distributed energy resources can save all ratepayers money by avoiding expensive grid infrastructure upgrades.” The solar side’s often-made argument in regulatory proceedings around the country has been supported by recent information from CAISO.
“In late March, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) approved its 2015–2016 Transmission Plan, which calls for canceling 13 transmission projects planned in Pacific Gas & Electric territory. The low-voltage transmission projects were deemed no longer necessary in light of materially lower load forecast levels since the projects were approved several years ago.”
The lower load forecasts are due to rooftop solar and energy efficiency.
Along with the evidence, Jim Baak, grid integration program director for Vote Solar continues: “This is really proof of what we and other energy advocates have been saying for some time — that solar, along with other clean distributed energy resources, such as energy storage, electric vehicles and demand response, will mean less utility investment in infrastructure and savings for consumers.”
Any change, even if so welcomed as growth of positive solar energy, comes with difficulties and growing pains. Greentech Media adds: “Baak acknowledged there’s tension around how the adoption of distributed energy resources fits into the traditional utility business model. Investor-owned utilities typically earn profit for their shareholders by making new investments in grid infrastructure, not by avoiding them.”
One suggestion for how to resolve this came from CPUC Commissioner Michael Florio: “offer a shareholder incentive for the deployment of cost-effective DERs [distributed energy resources] that displace or defer a utility expenditure, based on a fixed percentage of the payment made to the DER provider (customer or vendor).”
Note that California solar generation recently grew 1,378% in 5 years. No accident or good luck: California was a leader that brought itself into the front of this industry. Now, it is finding ways to mature its utility industry as rooftop solar keeps growing.
CleanTechnica and Cost of Solar recently reported on California solar incentives, solar installers, & solar costs. If you want to learn more about how California is leading us into a brighter solar future, the top installers there, and the average costs, check out that article.
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