ORIGINAL REPORTING: What Solar's Portfolio Of Grid Services Can Do For Utilities
What SolarCity's new portfolio of grid services can do for utilities; The dominant residential solar installer is moving beyond the rooftop in a bid to become an essential partner for utilities
Herman K. Trabish, May 16, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The discussion about the value of rooftop solar is rapidly transforming into one about the values of DER described in this piece.
SolarCity, which owns a third of the distributed solar market, is fixing its ambitions on transforming the entire bulk power system. It recently took a step toward rebranding itself as a full energy services company with a new set of distributed energy resources (DER) offerings for utilities and grid operators. The three services are from utility-scale solar, firm dispatchable solar power systems coupled with battery energy storage, and a software platform to organize and control the whole system. According to Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive, the new offerings position SolarCity to take advantage of a coming boom in DER, demand-side management, and software solutions to control them.
By 2018, the U.S. solar plus storage market is expected to reach at least $1 billion and the U.S. energy storage market alone will hit $1.5 billion or more, according to GTM Research. The North American DER management systems market will be $110 million or more and the U.S. demand response market will be upwards of $1.5 billion. Utilities are increasingly moving to DERs. Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power are working on regulator-approved rooftop solar installations. Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power’s unregulated arm recently moved into rooftop solar. Con Ed has a similar plan in New York. Duke Energy and REC Solar are investing $225 million in DERs on the utility side of the meter. SolarCity hopes to be a partner for utilities as they continue to develop and advance such programs, but it is far from alone in the emerging market… click here for more