Tag Archives: Research & Studies

Report: Solar Energy Benefits Vastly Outweigh Costs

Homes and businesses with solar panels deliver more value to power customers and society than they receive through programs like net metering, a report said today.

The Environment California Research & Policy Center report, Shining Rewards: The Value of Rooftop Solar Power for Consumers and Society, comes as California answers critical questions about the future of net metering and solar energy. Earlier this year, Governor Brown called on California to increase the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, to 50 percent by 2030. Meanwhile, regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are working to decide by the end of 2015 what the net metering rules will be for customers who go solar after the current program sunsets.

Of the 11 net metering studies reviewed in the report, all found that solar panel owners offered power customers net benefits, such as reduced capital investment costs, avoided energy costs, and reduced environmental compliance costs. In addition, solar energy creates valuable benefits for the environment and society at large, including avoided greenhouse gas emissions, reduced air pollution that harms public health, and the creation of local jobs. Eight of the 11 studies also found that the value of solar energy was higher than the average local residential retail electricity rate. The median value of solar power across the studies was nearly 17 cents per unit, compared to the nation’s average retail electricity rate of about 12 cents. In other words: utilities that provide retail rate net metering tend to underpay solar panel owners, not subsidize them.

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Here’s what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy

By David Roberts, Vox 

It is technically and economically feasible to run the US economy entirely on renewable energy, and to do so by 2050. That is the conclusion of a new study in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, authored by Stanford scholar Mark Z. Jacobson and nine colleagues.

His team’s new paper contains 50 such road maps, one for every state, with detailed modeling on how to get to a US energy system entirely powered by wind, water, and solar (WWS). That means no oil and coal. It also means no natural gas, no nuclear power, no carbon capture and sequestration, and no biofuels. The core of the plan is to electrify everything, including sectors that currently run partially or entirely on liquid fossil fuels. That means shifting transportation, heating/cooling, and industry to run on renewable electric power. The roadmaps show how to meet each state’s new power demands using only the renewable energies – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tiny amounts of tidal and wave – available to each state.

The road maps show how each individual state, from California to New York, can achieve an 80 percent transition by 2030, and a full conversion by 2050. The result is a substantial savings relative to the status quo baseline, in terms of energy costs, health costs, and climate costs alike. The resulting land footprint of energy is manageable, grid reliability is maintained, and more jobs will be created in renewables than destroyed in fossil fuels.

An interactive map summarizing the plans for each state is available at thesolutionsproject.org.

  • View the plan for California (PDF)

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