Sunday, September 19, 2021

Shedding light on the true value of solar energy

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IMAGE: “Distributed solar generation customers ensure that utility companies do not have to invest as much in infrastructure, while at the same time solar energy reduces peak demand when … see more

Credit: Sarah Atkinson / Michigan Tech

Beyond the environmental benefits and lower utility bills, it turns out that installing solar panels on your home actually benefits your entire community. Estimates of the value of grid-connected photovoltaic systems prove that solar panels are beneficial to utility companies and consumers.

For years, some utility companies have worried that solar panels will increase electricity costs for people without panels. Joshua Pearce, Richard Witte Full Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan University of Technology, has shown that the opposite is true: Owners of grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are actually subsidizing their non-PV neighbors.

Most PV systems are grid connected and convert sunlight directly into electricity which is either used on site or fed back into the grid. At night or in cloudy weather, customers who own PV use the grid …

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