Gallery: US Utilities Fear Obsolescence as Off-Grid Solar Power Rises


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There’s a common belief that even as solar power takes off, utility companies will retain their hold on energy markets as the need for standard electrical grids remain. But a report from the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI), a trade group of US utilities, doesn’t have a particularly optimistic outlook for their own long-established business model. They predict solar-based off-grid power usage to take off, which could cause rates for conventional utilities to skyrocket. Ostensibly, they fear the demise of their industry.

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  1. CauseOptics April 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    We already know there isn’t enough support from banks for residential installations and that people have not enough disposable income to afford systems. The Sun Shot initiative, still in its infancy, may well impact per kW pricing, however since the target has so far been soft costs, pricing for systems will likely be dependent on adoption rates. The strata in mature markets indicates current financial and professional scale levels off with solar farms beginning with 125 kW arrays and then as popularity increases, a quantum leap to 10 MW replicas of same. Utilities have nothing to fear. It’s the people who don’t take advantage of installing solar who will ultimately pay the price. And, if they can’t pay that price now to purchase and install a systems which covers even half of their own usage, they’ll pay extra later for electricity. All of this works to the advantage of utilities in under-serviced areas because as service splitting based cost increases and pooled tax resource infrastructure improvement programs in cities designed to help utilities and fossil fuel distributors upgrade, improve quality and automate take root, the wave of cost disruption to rural areas makes rural the best and most advantageous market to go off grid — for individuals and utilities. They won’t otherwise be able to afford to live rural without increasing population and diversifying resource based economies to accept total dominance of retail.

  2. msyin April 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    This report only states what was their future from the very beginning and the solution to their fear of losing power and income is to get on board of environmental and technological advancement if they wish to be part of the future. Having said that I am happy to look forward to a future without utility companies or at least clean, green energy that is not centralized, inadequate, inefficient, redundant and expensive to the cost of the people, industry and planet.

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