How Photo voltaic Panels Save Vitality Prices for House owners

  • Solar panels save their owners and their neighbors energy costs.
  • A new holistic analysis examines how panels are saving utility companies money.
  • According to researchers, utilities should help panel owners even more.

    There is a lingering myth that houses with solar panels could increase energy bills for their neighbors. However, a new analysis puts that thought to bed and shows that solar panels actually reduce electricity bills, even for homes nearby.

    How is that? Scientists say solar panels reduce peak demand for stressed traditional grids and reduce the amount of infrastructure dollars that utilities have to invest. By connecting your solar panels to the grid, you are a practical investor in your local utility company.

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    In the March issue of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Joshua Pearce, Professor at Michigan Technological University, and Koami Soulemane Hayibo, PhD student, publish their new findings on the cost of solar panels. They say utilities feared solar panels could increase the cost of surrounding homes, possibly due to the idea that these neighbors could be charged higher rates to compensate for “missing” electricity customers.

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    Instead, Pearce and Soulemane found that homes with solar panels heavily subsidize their local power grids – to the point where their research calls for regulatory reform.

    To calculate this number, they divided the “Value of Solar (VOS)” into a list of parameters: “The avoided costs that are taken into account are: operating and operating costs [operation & management] fixed and variable; Fuel; Generation capacity, reserve capacity, transmission capacity, distribution capacity and environmental and health liability. “

    By looking at each variable with an individual sensitivity analysis and then combining all of these values ​​into a master VOS number, they quantified how much solar-powered homeowners are feeding back into the grid. This is not only the actual solar energy surplus during the hours of sunshine, but also the way in which investing in modules prevents utilities from investing their own money in infrastructure improvements, for example.

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    The researchers say this is the first calculation of its kind that takes a holistic view of the costs and savings for utility companies of houses with solar panels. You explain:

    “VOS calculations are challenging and there is widespread disagreement in the literature about the methods and data required. To overcome these limitations, this study reviews previous VOS studies to develop a generalized model that takes into account realistic future avoided costs and liabilities. “

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    So it’s important to quantify what solar panel customers are doing for the grid and keep that in mind when entering the numbers. And when it comes to sun, the devil is in these details:

    “The results show that on-grid utility customers are grossly undercompensated in most parts of the US as the value of solar dwarfs both the net metering rate and the two-tier rates.”

    What does that mean for you? Well, tax incentives and environmental reasons have already made solar modules attractive to many people. If scientists are right, the future could include guidelines that will allow utility companies to consider solar-powered homes with even more financial incentives to offset those homes’ contribution to their local grids. That could translate into savings and even lower upfront costs – and more homes to let in the sunshine.

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