Rooftop solar could meet 10% of US power demand by 2022, claims the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), which expects installations on more than 35 million buildings to undercut utility power.
The ILSR’s report forecasts that a surge of distributed generation from photovoltaic (PV) panels on homes and businesses will spread across the US even to states currently low in solar capacity.
In Minnesota, for instance, unsubsidised solar will be so inexpensive that 4 GW will be installed over the next decade, according to the report.
For utilities, rooftop PV could also trigger a change in role to become facilitators in more flexible systems, said John Farrell, who directs the ILSR’s Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities programme.
Austin Energy, a Texas municipal utility, is already paying a non-subsidy premium for solar as it helps offset expensive peak power purchases.
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