ReWire, December 18, 2012
Those utilities we’ve been mentioning over the last couple days who are worried about rooftop solar may well have good reason to feel that way. A new report forecasts that within ten years, power from solar panels on your roof will be as inexpensive as power from local electric companies across the country. And for Southern Californians, that day will be here quite a bit sooner.
It’s called “grid parity,” and it comes when the cost of installing solar panels on your roof drops to — or below — the cost per kilowatt hour of power from your electric company. That’s already the case in Hawaii, where sunshine is plentiful and electric power from the grid comes from power plants that burn expensively imported diesel fuel. And within a few years, it’ll be the case in California.
The Institute for Local Self Reliance’s report, Commercial Rooftop Revolution, forecasts that as much as 312,000 megawatts of commercial and residential rooftop solar will be economically competitive with grid power by 2022, without subsidy. That’s nine percent of the nation’s total demand.
It’s also a source of power that will be most productive at peak consumption times, which is when the utilities generally make the most money selling us power.
In California, according to report author John Farrell, 26,000 megawatts of rooftop solar will be economically competitive without subsidy by 2022, more than 10 percent of the state’s consumption.