By Ali McBride, Aurora Solar
Even the most ardent solar evangelists can agree on one limitation solar panels have: they only produce electricity when the sun is shining. But, peak energy use tends to come in the evenings, coinciding with decreased solar generation and causing a supply and demand issue. The thing is, solar panels often pump out more than enough energy during those lower demand hours when the sun is shining to meet peak demand later in the day. This means that efficient solar energy storage can open up a wealth of possibilities for homeowners and businesses alike.
In this blog, we’ll look at solar energy storage in-depth, including its benefits, how it works, and how it can help.
A lot of bias has been endured from utilities. Solar PV and wind are intermittent, what do you do when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Solar PV and wind generation are only cost effective at utility scale. The economies of scale allows cheap solar PV and wind generation in the utility sector.
The big lie is when one compares the wholesale electricity market to the retail electricity market, there seems to be this disconnect, the well known fact that IOU utilities are “regulated monopolies” and are “assured” a rate of return on their assets. This assurance allows utilities to raise your electricity rates for “lost revenues” when energy efficiency programs cut the amount of electricity the utility sells per month. The utility is also allowed an electricity rate increase when an old asset doesn’t make money in operation and is then a “stranded asset”. In the retail market it means this, you will have TD&D charges, fuel charges, emergency generation charges and any local taxes and fees added to each kWh of electricity you use from the grid. You can cut wholesale electricity to an average of $10/MWh or 1 cent/kWh and the retail ratepayer would still have high electricity rates for years to come. It has been established that if your utility is charging you $0.12/kWh or more for electricity, you can on average eliminate a monthly electric bill and pay for the system in 10 years or less. Some folks installing larger solar PV systems and installing their own charging stations for BEVs are paying for their systems in energy savings (electric and gasoline) for a payoff of about 5 years.