One of the most common concerns against public incentives to encourage PV and other renewables is that power users who do not install a clean energy generator are the most affected because they have to bear the expense of the incentives without experiencing the benefits and financial advantages that can be ensured by renewable energy systems. In the past, and sometimes with success, this claim has been used by governments, power utilities, and regulators to slow down or stop the advance of PV, especially among homeowners and small and medium-sized enterprises.

A Michigan Technological University research group has now tried to shed light on the true value of solar power produced in the United States by net-metered PV systems and has found that non-PV consumers enjoy more advantages than is commonly believed.

An analysis of the importance of solar methodology in the research with a case study from the U.S. The researchers explained in VOS, published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, that their value estimates for grid-linked photovoltaic systems have shown that solar panels are useful not only for electricity utilities but also for consumers of electricity.

Joshua Pearce, the research co-author, said, “Anyone who puts up solar is a great citizen for their neighbours and their local utilities.” “Customers with solar distributed generation are making it so that utility companies don’t have to make as many investments in infrastructure while when electricity is the most expensive, solar shaves down peak demands.”

The scholars clarified that in most states, utility consumers owning a rooftop solar array are under-compensated because what they call the “solar value” eclipses the net metering tariffs charged by the utilities. The U.S. group created a model that, with a growing share of rooftop PV power, takes into account practical costs and obligations utility companies may prevent.

The model takes into account the following variables: operating and maintenance costs avoided; fuel avoided; generating capacity avoided; reserve capacity avoided; grid capacity avoided, and costs of environmental and health obligation due to the generation of fossil fuel electricity.

“It can be concluded that substantial future regulatory reform is needed to ensure that U.S. electric utilities are not unjustly subsidized by grid-linked solar PV owners,” Pearce said. “This research provides decision-makers with greater clarity so that they see that solar PV is truly an economic benefit in the best interest of all utility customers.”

Source – here