Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Solar Power On Brink Of Huge Boom, Social Research Indicates

Originally published on Solar Love.

Solar power stands at the precipice of explosive growth, according to Brewster McCracken, CEO of Pecan Street, a research institute located in Austin, Texas, that focuses on the utility industry. He bases his prediction on the economic theories of Everett Rogers first published in 1962. Rogers postulated that when 15% of people accept an innovation, it will quickly spread to 60% of the target population. McCraken says that in some markets — like Hawaii, California, and Arizona — residential solar power has already achieved that 15% level of acceptance. He thinks that means it is about to see explosive growth.

rooftop solar system installation

“The first people who line up outside the store to buy the newest thing, they typically don’t have (a lot) of influence, but they do feed the education level of the next group,” McCracken says. It’s what that next group does that makes the difference. “If they say something’s good, or if people learn about it through those forums, they are more likely to get broad penetration.”

If you are a utility company, mass adoption of rooftop solar power is a problem. Part of it is that electrical grids — the collection of poles, wires, transformers, and sub-stations — will always be necessary. They take a lot of money to build and maintain. The other part of the problem is that if people make their own electricity, utility companies will see a sharp decline in income. Uh oh. Less income means less profits and that means less money to pay utility company executives. It also means less money to pay investors and bond holders.

Utility companies have trillions of dollars invested in the grid. That money came from investors who thought they were guaranteed a stated rate of return. If utilities are suddenly unable to repay investors, a lot of people stand to lose a lot of money. No wonder utility companies are nervous and want to restrict the proliferation of rooftop solar.

Suddenly, a company that thought it had a monopoly finds itself in competition with its own customers. It’s as if people could suddenly start building their own cars. What would happen to the auto industry if that was the case? The problem for utilities only gets worse as people start adding battery storage to their rooftop solar systems.

As the percentage of people with solar panels on their roofs increases, utilities will be under tremendous pressure to adapt. “The grid will still be necessary, but you’ll be making a lot less money and you’ll be creating a lot of havoc from an engineering perspective,” he said. “It does create a lot of havoc, but it’s coming anyway.”

Source: Forbes | Photo credit: CoCreatr via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: Cruise Talks Autonomous Driving Tech, Regulations, & Auto Design

New Podcast: Battery Mineral Mining Policies & Regional Trends

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.