In early summer, the California Independent System Operator, who is one of two wholesale electricity centers in California, reported that due to renewable power plants having to shut down energy production because California solar systems are producing more energy than the state and its homeowners need. A report from early June 2018 states that California solar and wind farms dialed back nearly 95,000 megawatts of electricity – enough energy to power more than 30 million homes for an hour. This report put many solar shoppers in the state into a place of doubt and uncertainty. As consumers walked into our Showroom for solar consultations, one of the primary concerns is not “How much?” it is “Is it really necessary?” The purpose of this short article is to outline why “too much solar” is really not a ‘thing’ and why solar is just as important now for California home and business owners as it ever has been.
What is “Too Much” When it Comes to Solar?
According to the previously mentioned report, “too much” solar is the oversupply of solar based on the electrical grid’s ability
- to store power
- utilize power from the grid or
- send the power somewhere else
Thus, “too much” is really a measure that is based on the amount of energy demands and the grid’s ability to store and disperse energy as energy demands ebb and flow. “Too much” is not really a hard number – it is subjective based upon demand and storage capabilities.
Some organizations are concerned about the high levels of solar being produced by homeowners and business owners. This is not an environmental concern. It is a concern that too much solar being produced may drop the profits of power plant operations. Additionally, continued increases in the supply of all renewable sources will place pressure on wholesale energy prices, squeezing profits from energy generators.
However, as consumers actively seeking to take control of energy costs, while also proactively seeking renewable resources for access to cleaner energy sources, solar is still the ideal option.
Solar Allows Consumer to Control Energy Costs
Much of the literature consumers have heard regarding solar over production has to do with larger political concerns regarding energy production plants and potential profit losses. What is overlooked is the cost savings residential and commercial solar systems offer to the owners. Energy prices continue to rise. Recent fires suggest that more rate increases to PG&E customers are on the way. A consumer’s inability to predict future cost of electricity is a budgetary issue. In states, such as California, with excessive high living costs, the ability to predict future energy costs is burden removed and provides financial relief.
When a consumer installs a residential or commercial solar system, they are able to accurately budget for future electricity costs. If a system is financed, the monthly payment is fixed for a period of time. Upon payoff, the system is owned, and energy is essentially owned and accessible to the owner for no cost.
Solar Promotes Clean Energy
Regardless of profits and corporate expectations of energy demands and pricing, more solar dependence means that there is a greater dependence on clear, renewable energy sources. More people on the planet equates to higher demands for energy. In efforts to ensure access to energy while also protecting the environment means that solar power is important. California energy policy mandates require that at least half the state’s electricity comes from carbon-free sources by 2030. Thanks to increases to residential and commercial solar installations, California is on pace to reach the target a decade ahead of schedule. This gives the state at least a decade more of cleaner energy resources. Clean power is vital for climate goals and reducing carbon emissions.
Long Term Solutions
Like all movements of change, solar energy, solar energy storage and solar legislation is not perfected. However, research and advocacy groups are working diligently to ensure that misnomers such as “too much solar” energy are put to bed. They are also working to educate the public on why increased dependence and access to clean energy sources, such as solar, is important. One such group to follow in California is the Solar Rights Alliance, a non-profit focused on ensuring consumer solar rights.
Other long-term solutions include better grid scale storage, programs to change how energy is priced within Time-of-Use schedules, and better legislation.
However, what cannot be denied is that solar energy is a vital piece to the energy solutions necessary for California residents. Additionally, there is no such thing as “too much” solar energy. Consumers should not be swayed by corporate profit reductions. Owning a solar system is empowering for the homeowner or business owners and feeds into a cleaner energy grid.
Now is an ideal time to go solar. Tax incentives are still at their highest tier, prices are incredibly competitive and hot days and nights lead to high utility bills, when there is not any solar.
When you are ready to learn more about the benefits of solar, reach out to our Energy Advisers today and learn how there is not such thing as “too much solar.”