30 Sep '14, 1pm

Rooftop Solar’s Threat to Utilities by the Numbers

The rise of rooftop solar has resulted in a catchy phrase—the “utility death spiral ”. It's the idea that utilities will be put out of business by distributed energy. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study confirms utilities in the United States do have reason to worry but finds that changes to regulations could make solar and utilities friends, rather than foes. If 10 percent of generation came from rooftop solar, shareholder earnings could fall more than 40 percent. Right now, it's hard to imagine why utility executives worry at all about distributed solar. Even with a rapid spread over the past five years, distributed photovoltaic generation is only about 0.2 percent of U.S. electricity supply and is only one or two percent in states with solar-friendly policies. Yet the rise of distributed solar has kicked off fierce debates and utility-backed efforts to dismant...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/roo...

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