Solar Power is not good for the Utility Grid 

Two weeks ago, I was speaking at the New Mexico Co-op Members Association meeting (where all the NM Electric Co-ops meet to share ideas), and I was asked:  “How can solar benefit my utility?”

This is what I told them:

Not only can solar help you meet your renewable portfolio standard, it can;

  • Also diversify your energy sources (link not putting all of your eggs in one basket)
  • Reduce transmission and distribution costs (local energy does not have to travel far)
  • Create a levelized cost of energy to hedge against volatile and rising costs of coal, natural gas and nuclear. (With new EPA rulings we might actually start seeing the real costs of these fuels)
  • Distributed generation can help alleviate older, overburdened utility lines and substations. (Which lots of distribution systems are these days)
  • Local energy production keeps money and resources local
  • Solar creates local jobs, and much, much more

Is solar behind the rise in energy prices?

Solar is actually an insurance policy against rising costs.  The single largest reason for rising power bills is the cost of upgrades to transmission and distribution infrastructure. This would exist with or without the addition of solar power systems.  Solar power actually brings down the price of wholesale electricity.

Electricity suppliers get their electricity on the grid through a bidding process. Because the costs of solar and wind power plants are essentially just in the process of building them (the fuel costs are $0 and the maintenance costs are slight), they can outbid pretty much every other source of power. As a result, they drive down the price of wholesale electricity.

-Dan Weinman