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Join the Revolution: Local Solar + Storage will Transform our Grid; Save Billions and Create Millions of Jobs

Join the Revolution: Local Solar + Storage will Transform our Grid; Save Billions and Create Millions of Jobs

Some innovative new data published by well-known renewable energy science software and research firm, Vibrant Clean Energy, reveals promising information for the future of our power grid. The study, titled Local Solar For All Costs Less: A New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid, confirms that solar energy will be the primary source of energy for the United States for the foreseeable future. VCE has determined that our economy will benefit greatly from expanding solar in all aspects of the energy matrix, from residential applications to utility scale development. To perform this research, they utilized cutting-edge programs and algorithms to analyze millions of data points and forecast the economic benefits of broadening photovoltaics in the energy mix!

The study starts off with a presentation of traditional thinking related to the energy matrix, and breaks down why so many long-held ideas about solar being cost ineffective or not viable enough to support the country’s energy needs are flawed or just plain incorrect. They highlight the top three concerns people have about solar: that residential solar and battery storage is cumbersome and will end up costing the public more in the long run; that centralized power plants running on fossil fuels are the most cost effective way to deliver electricity to the whole community; and that the most efficient way to grow solar’s share of the energy matrix is massive, utility-scale development. Next, it breaks down these backwards assumptions bit by bit, pointing out that current models of forecasting energy demands lack the information needed to paint a clear picture of consumption and are too short-sighted to accurately depict future cost changes. The three main critiques VCE highlights about present utility planning models include: lack of pertinent data, neglecting to account for the entire energy system in cost/benefit calculations, and often leaving local solar + storage capacity entirely out of the equation. They also point out that current utility planning “only considers utility resources and ignores the costs and benefits of distribution level resources like community and rooftop solar”. After presenting these flaws in current methods of computation, VCE introduces their new “total system planning tool”, dubbed WIS:dom®-P or “WIS:dom” for short. 

VCE’s new WIS:dom tool, described as a “fully combined capacity expansion and production cost model”, integrates new data that is typically left out of utility planning research. By accounting for capacity expansion requirements such as “energy generation, storage, transmission, and demand-side resources”; as well as dispatch requirements like “production costs, power flow, reserves, ramping and reliability”, VCE argues that the WIS:dom model is an improvement to existing analytical methods. Touting its ability to process ten thousand times more data than traditional models, VCE breaks down every way their model beats old-school methods of utility planning. WIS:dom zeroes in on location planning down to 3 square kilometers, tracks energy consumption at 5 minute increments instead of hour-by-hour samples currently utilized, and even accounts for how weather impacts demand, among other key variables. VCE goes on to describe how this more thorough survey of variables is combined with a holistic overview of all points of the grid - generation, transmission and distribution, to determine what energy mix will provide the best value to all consumers. The conclusions drawn from the WIS:dom calculation confirm what we solar nerds have been hypothesizing for years - that local solar and energy storage is the most cost effective way to transition our grid to clean power! What’s more… It’s going to bring in more jobs and savings than you’d imagine! 

The Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid projects impressive economic advantages that contrast with the typical rhetoric we hear from fossil fuel interest groups. It proposes that by adding 223 GW of local solar to the country’s energy matrix, we will save a whopping $473,000,000 and add 2 million new jobs to the labor force! These projections are so impressive that they outshine the shadows of doubt dirty energy lobbyists have been sowing in our communities for decades. To determine how much we stand to gain from lowering the barriers to local-level solar and storage development, VCE forecasted three distinct scenarios: business as usual or BUA, optimization of local solar plus storage (DER), and combining local solar plus storage optimization with setting clean energy targets for every state in the nation (DER-CE). It concludes that even if we add clean energy targets to our business as usual utility planning, we stand to lose $385 billion by 2050… but if we shift to foster the development of local solar plus storage in addition to setting clean energy targets for every state, we have the potential to save $473 billion! Comparing these three outcomes reveals that we are missing critical opportunities for economic growth by following the business as usual path of electric grid planning. The numbers don’t lie: living in the past with conventional utility design burns public money up faster than methane can combust. To optimize our economy and stimulate the job market like never before, we need local solar plus storage - NOW!

Solar Wolf Energy has been advocating for local solar ownership since our inception. Our commitment to bringing the highest quality photovoltaics to homeowners around the country means we stay on top of burgeoning technology, such as advanced energy storage, that will empower Americans to achieve true energy independence. If you want to do your part to help push the United States out of the dinosaur age of fossil fuel dependence and into a brighter future with clean power, give us a call to learn how you can start banking fuel and cash - instead of burning it!

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Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
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