Utilities - why your solar future may arrive sooner than you think


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: Perhaps you think solar is only a concern for a few utilities in ultra-sunny locations. Perhaps you think it will be easy to accommodate when it does arrive. Perhaps you think it won't have a big impact on your bottom line.


Perhaps you are wrong about all three. As you'll read below, Navigant says the solar market is accelerating already. And it will only grow faster when, as Navigant predicts, it reaches cost parity with fossil generation by 2017 in most major markets. It has caught on so fast in California that the state's program to encourage PV is effectively winding down. Or consider cloudy Germany, which is the clear solar leader worldwide.


If you think solar will be easy to handle, talk to San Diego Gas & Electric, which may well have more PV than any other North American utility. It is installing various self-healing technologies in large part to mitigate the challenges of intermittent solar.


If you think solar won't have a big impact, then you may want to review this recent SGN article on the impact of net metering. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom, which nicely frame both sides of the debate.


Solar may be coming sooner than you think. And once it arrives, it may be harder to cope with and harder to pay for than you realize. - Jesse Berst