Scaling distributed solar and storage is lowest-cost path for US to reach clean electric grid – study

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
The research was issued by Sunrun, Vote Solar and the Coalition for Community Solar Access. Image: Sunrun.

Deploying at least 247GW of rooftop and community solar and 160GW of local energy storage is the most cost-effective way for the US to transition to a clean energy system by 2050, a new report has found.

Those additions would be enough to power more than 25% of US homes, while also saving consumers up to US$473 billion on electricity, the joint study from Sunrun, Vote Solar and the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) says.

Using a new planning tool developed by Vibrant Clean Energy, the research analyses the benefits associated with bringing the most cost-effective resource mix to the electric grid.

Sunrun chief policy officer Anne Hoskins said the joint report demonstrates the “critical role” distributed energy resources must play in future system planning “to provide efficient, effective and reliable solutions for an ageing grid”.

As well as reducing the need for peaking power plants, the analysis says expanding local solar and storage better manages and reduces demand on the distribution system, while increasing grid resilience.

Additional rooftop and community solar could also unlock the potential of utility-scale PV projects. Retiring fossil plants that run infrequently and deploying local storage more efficiently will help integrate 798GW of utility-scale solar by 2050, the research suggests.

According to Jeff Cramer, CCSA executive director, the US could save hundreds of billions of dollars if President-elect Joe Biden’s clean energy plan includes scaling local solar and storage. “These savings are in addition to the massive societal benefits that come with a grid that's more local and distributed,” he said.

In terms of economic gains, the research says scaling local and storage results in more than 2 million new jobs by 2050 as well as more equitable access to the benefits of renewables.

The report has been recognised the Solar Energy Industries Association, whose vice president of state affairs, Sean Gallagher, said it offers “a window into the importance of adopting advanced modelling tools”. He added: “Deploying vast amounts of solar-plus-storage, at all scales, to decarbonise our electricity system will save customers money, clean our air and literally fuel the American economy.”

Sunrun, Vote Solar and CCSA are now calling on legislators and regulators to ensure local solar and storage is integrated into state energy planning using advanced modelling tools to establish clear policies.

Read Next

May 12, 2021
Integrated solar roofing firm GAF Energy has started moving its manufacturing base from Asia and building out its first combined research and development (R&D) and manufacturing centre in San Jose, California.
May 7, 2021
US solar installer SunPower expects deployment to surge in the coming quarters as tailwinds and refreshed business strategy combine, despite installs within its core residential and light commercial (RLC) segment dropping in Q1 2021.
May 7, 2021
Danish utility giant Ørsted has completed its first utility-scale solar-plus-storage facility in the US.
May 6, 2021
Sunrun has increased its guidance for 2021 after a first quarter performance which has put the company on track to record its best ever year, CEO Lynn Jurich said.
May 6, 2021
There needs to be a fourfold increase in the number of workers employed in the US solar industry for the country to achieve President Biden’s ambition of creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, a new report suggests.
May 3, 2021
German PV solutions provider IBC Solar is adding microinverters and energy storage systems from Enphase Energy to its product portfolio.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
August 24, 2021