From The Washington Post
Workers install solar panels on a rooftop on February 20, 2015, at a home in Palmetto Bay, Florida.
In recent years, the growth of the rooftop solar market has been astounding. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the growth rate for at-home solar has been above 50 percent for three years running (2012, 2013 and 2014).
But if a new study is to be believed, the changes have only begun.
The way we get power is “at a metaphorical fork in the road,” says the new report released by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an influential energy policy think tank. The reason is not just rooftop solar but, beyond that, the growing feasibility of home electricity systems combining solar panels with batteries for storage of energy.
“Grid-connected, self-consuming solar will become economic for nearly all customers imminently, with grid-connected solar plus-battery systems following soon after,” notes the study, which was co-authored by Homer Energy.
Customers will choose these options, the study finds, because they’ll save money on their bills. Once they can not only generate their own power from the sun, but can also store it until they need it (including overnight, when there’s no sun shining), the old model of buying all their power from a single utility company could be strongly challenged.
The new report agrees with another recent study, just out in the journal Energy Policy, that says people will not be abandoning the grid en masse. But over time, more and more of the electrons that they use to power their homes and lives could be from off-grid. While most people will stay connected so that they’ll always have backup power, they’ll increasingly generate and store more and more of their own power, and potentially sell it back to the grid (a key reason to remain connected).
The Rocky Mountain Institute study looked at five different U.S. cities in very different regions – Louisville, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Westchester, New York – and modeled how soon it would make economic sense for people in each place to shift first to rooftop solar (or PV) and, second, to rooftop solar with battery storage.
The upshot is that – at least based on the models used in the study – the revolution starts surprisingly soon in many places:
|Rocky Mountain Institute, “The Economics of Load Defection,” April 2015.
The research aligns well with the views of NRG Energy CEO David Crane, who recently remarked that “the distributed future will be utterly destructive of the utility model that we now have. No one wants to spend more on electricity than they have to.”
“New customers will find solar-plus-battery systems configurations most economic in three of our geographies within the next 10-15 years,” says the study. In Westchester County, it projects, the traditional grid could provide just 25 percent of people’s power by 2030. Granted, as you can see, the change could take longer to materialize in other regions.
But the Rocky Mountain Institute study suggests that if utilities can’t beat them, they can still join them. It describes the possibility of an “integrated grid” in which lower carbon emissions and more customer choice have economic benefits that strengthen the system as a whole. Meanwhile, utilities could get in the business of helping consumers finance these new home electricity systems, or could even own some of their components.
Whatever happens, the report notes, the business and policy moves made today will be pivotal. “Decisions made in the short-term can set markets down extremely different paths,” the study concludes.
Summer Classics (SC), a leader in the casual furniture industry, announced today that Schon Duke has joined the organization as the company’s new vice president of Sales for the Wholesale Division.
SC is in the final stages of many infrastructure improvements that include hiring more seasoned, senior-level managers as it prepares for growth in the improving economy. Duke began work this week at the opening and relocation of the new corporate headquarters in Pelham, Alabama.
He comes to SC with 25 years of experience in the high-end furniture industry at Maitland Smith and Theodore Alexander. Both companies have an incredible history in the business, and Duke brings that experience and a wealth of knowledge to Summer Classics.
“We are excited to have a young and vibrant mind like Schon’s join our team,” said Bew White, president of Summer Classics Companies. “We have high expectations for him in the coming years.”
“I look forward to working with this passionate team,” said Duke. “They have an unrelenting approach to design, attention to detail and operational excellence. It’s an honor to be part of this fast growing organization.”
Contact Connie Kasper, assistant VP of Sales,
at (205) 358-9252 or by email
Carls Patio, the state’s largest Florida-based outdoor patio company, has opened a new store at the Delray Marketplace. The store boasts more than 10,000 sq. ft. of patio furniture designs, and features the company’s new retail concept that blends outdoor living with indoor decor.
The store is located at 14851 Lyons Road, a quarter-mile west of the Atlantic Avenue exit off the Florida Turnpike.
“We’re very excited about this new concept,” Paul Otowchits, president of Carls Patio said in a statement released by the company. “The Florida homeowner is always looking for new ways to create the ultimate outdoor environment for fun and entertaining. We have been serving south Florida for many years and have a true understanding of the customers’ needs and wants, and this is the result.”
Carls Patio opened in 1993 and has stores from Miami to Sarasota.