ORIGINAL REPORTING: Rooftop solar reaching 'can't beat 'em, join 'em' prices for utilities
Do new rooftop solar price projections mean 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' for utilities? Rooftop solar's 2030 price could be $0.05/kWh and drive 30 GW/year of new capacity, DOE finds
Herman K. Trabish, March 1, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Rooftop solar continues to get more affordable.
Utility-scale wind and solar are now putting coal and nuclear plants out of business and are price-competitive with natural gas plants — but what would happen if rooftop solar was that cheap? The national average retail residential electricity price is around $0.13/kWh. There are ways to bring the cost of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar to $0.05/kWh by 2030, according to a new Department of Energy (DOE) paper. That value proposition could be appealing enough to change the already falling demand for grid-supplied electricity noticeably.
Getting to that low cost would require major business model innovation by solar installers. It would also require significantly more use of “integrated” solar roofing products still being developed. But if the solar industry makes those changes, it will offer electricity customers big new opportunities to which utilities may be forced to respond. The price of rooftop solar is already growing fast and the study’s projected low prices can only accelerate adoption. High penetrations can create challenges for utilities because of midday over-generation and an accentuated evening demand peak. But policies that encourage the use of battery storage and smart technologies can turn those challenges into opportunities… click here for more