Forget the threat of solar and battery-equipped customers defecting from the grid. The real threat for utilities unwilling to adapt to grid-connected customers installing ever-cheaper solar and energy storage technologies is “load defection” — and that future will come whether or not utilities and regulators support it with net metering regimes and customer-grid integration, or try to fight it with fixed customer charges and other roadblocks.
These are some of the top-line findings from “The Economics of Load Defection” report released Tuesday by the Rocky Mountain Institute, CohnReznick and HOMER Energy. Calculating the economics through 2050 for median commercial and residential customers in five U.S. markets, the report shows that grid-connected solar-storage systems are already more cost-effective than grid-supplied electricity in expensive electricity markets like Hawaii, and will be more economic than grid power in three of five U.S. geographies studied, including California, New York and Texas, within the next 10 to 15 years.
Tuesday’s report is the long-awaited sequel to the “Economics of Grid Defection” report released last year, and looked at the same five cities modeled in the previous report — Honolulu, Hawaii; Los Angeles, California; Louisville, Kentucky; San Antonio, Texas; and Westchester, New York.