Monday, June 9, 2014

Utility downgrade

Since I have spent some time working with solar panels I thought this was an interesting story.

Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry
Alias Hinkley, Energy Trends Insider, 28 May 2014
Barclays Sees Technology Winning – Soon 
The rationale for the downgrade is stark with Barclays expecting more than 20% of U.S. electric consumers to live in states where solar combined with electric storage will be as cheap or cheaper than utilities can deliver power to those same consumers within 4 years.  Conceptually the idea that new technology would change the way we generate and source electricity has always been part of (if only on the periphery) the energy conversation.  This is different.  Barclays has articulated a very real and present risk – new technology will replace the 100 year old model in which fuel is burned in a central location, converted to electricity and sent across wires to the various points of use. It is not a risk the utilities are reacting to fast enough.
The storage is an awfully iffy proposition. 
On top of that, the electronics in the systems go bad about as quickly as you would expect them to.  So they are not maintenance free.  At the residential level, with the huge diversity of systems out there, that makes these systems even harder to maintain inexpensively as the mixed bag that makes up the home "emergency" generator market.  But maybe the mass-lease-your-roof-space folks can make it work.  That set up is not legal in North Carolina, so we won't see it here.

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