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Value of Utility Scale vs. Rooftop Solar Debated Amid Price Decline

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Feb 14, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/value-of-utility-scale-vs-rooftop-solar-debated-amid-price-decline/

Daily Energy Insider – February 14, 2017

By Kevin Randolph

Over the last decade, the price of solar installations has declined significantly, but the electric utilities industry continues to debate the value and cost effectiveness of utility scale versus rooftop solar.

During a panel discussion at the 2017 National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners winter committee meeting on Monday, two experts highlighted the different benefits and challenges associated with utility and rooftop solar. The need to accurately determine solar prices, the role of subsidies, net metering regulations and the effects of technological advances all factor in to determining the value of solar. …

John Farrell, director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, identified several benefits specific to distributed solar. Those advantages include peak shaving, resiliency, as well as voltage and frequency support. Solar also creates reduced variability by distributing power where it is developed, Farrell said. Solar has load reduction benefits and also is able to put energy back onto the system.

DG and utility scale solar are difficult to accurately compare. “Because it doesn’t compete on the same level … that our large-scale solar does, we’ve had to come up with new ways to value it and figure out how to calculate it,” Farrell said. “That levelized cost of energy comparison we’ve been using is insufficient in order to determine what is the appropriate price of the resource.”

Read the full story here.