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800 MW of Rooftop Solar Added to the Northeastern United States in 2019

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Solar contractors across nine Northeastern states added about 800 MW of small-scale installations in 2019, with New Jersey and New York making up about three-fifths of the total installed capacity. Contractors generally refer to these small scale-installations or rooftop solar panels as installations smaller than one megawatt. In 2020, The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) hopes to see New Jersey and New York continuing to be trailblazers, renewing their current solar initiative plan and expanding on their current one, respectively.

In the past 12 months, we saw Massachusetts lead in cumulative rooftop installations per capita, with Vermont and New Jersey trailing closely behind in second and third. Rhode Island took the lead in rooftop solar installation additions per capita in 2019 by a two-to-one margin. Maine and Pennsylvania were the only two states in 2019 that did not exceed the U.S. national average of 69 watts of rooftop solar per capita, with New York and New Hampshire needing to establish a hefty amount of rooftop solar installations this year to keep that honor.

State Policy Goals

Regardless of the size of solar installation, the technology used, or where it’s located, local, state and federal policies have a major impact on the success of distributed solar initiatives. SEIA helps support these initiatives statewide by being engaged with policymakers in Washington, D.C. Several groups in the Northeast shared their policy goals and plans for 2020, with all of them hoping to continue the forward momentum into the future.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s current plan is set to expire, so looking ahead, SEIA is looking for a replacement program to install at least another 3 GW of distributed solar, short-term. Vote Solar, whose mission is to make solar a more mainstream energy resource, is pressing for $125 million per year in state funding; which will provide 250,000 lower income families the opportunity to go solar by 2030 with 400 megawatts of solar storage. Pari Kasotia, Vote Solar’s Mid-Atlantic Director says, “By focusing on low-income families, we are ensuring that on-bill savings, which are more difficult for low-income families to access, are available to everyone.”

New York

SEIA is pushing for state funding for New York’s agency, NYSERDA. This petition requests $573 million to help meet a state goal of 6 GW of distributed solar capacity by 2025. Vote Solar’s goal in New York is to serve 250,000 low income families with solar so everyone in the community can participate in the state initiative for cleaner energy.

Massachusetts

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) is a sustainable solar initiative program that promotes cost-effective solar development in Massachusetts. Vote Solar’s goal in Massachusetts is to simplify the program so that low-income families will have the chance to go solar without needing to sign a contract. SEIA is more focused on the solar project sites of the SMART program. David Gahl, SEIA’s Senior Director of Northeast state affairs states, “The program applies an incentive subtractor for certain distributed solar projects built on green fields and previously undisturbed property. This is essentially a penalty that’s assessed on a cent per kilowatt-hour basis.” SEIA would like to see an approach that more clearly designates the type of parcel where the solar installations would be applied.

Solar Potential for the Future

The solar potential across the U.S. is greater than it may seem, especially in the Northeast. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a solar potential map of the U.S., where at first glance, the map is very misleading. It highlights the Southwestern desert as a hotspot for solar potential, then, as you move across the U.S., it appears the potential dramatically drops off, which isn’t true. In fact, there’s solar potential everywhere across the continental United States.

At Intersect Energy, we offer innovative and efficient solutions for renewable energy. We help commercial and industrial companies with solar energy development projects in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Our solutions reduce operating costs and sources of local green energy. To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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New Jersey Unveils Master Plan for 14 GW More Solar Energy Through 2035 and Beyond

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is making a pledge to fight climate change in his 290-page document that outlines the state’s master energy plan. This extensive plan includes electrification initiatives that call for more solar charging vehicles and solar heating buildings. The master plan has a goal of 17 GW of solar by 2035, and given the 3 GW of existing solar, speculations suggest that this goal can be comfortably met by adding just 950 MW of solar each year through 2035 and 400 MW of distributed energy each year through 2030.

By 2050, the governor would like to reach 32 GW of solar, 11 GW of offshore wind and 9 GW of solar battery storage. What do all these numbers look like in the grand scheme of things? New Jersey’s ambitious least-cost clean energy strategy hopes to reach 50% clean energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050. New Jersey’s master plan is further aiming to slash greenhouse gas emissions, greatly reducing the state’s contribution to climate change.

A least cost strategy was supported and identified through analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute. The master plan starts New Jersey on a path towards reducing its carbon emissions by 80% and reaching 100% carbon-neutral electrical generation by 2050. In order to meet these goals, future costs of solar and solar storage would have to meet the “low” forecast as stated in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Annual Technology Baseline. New Jersey’s transportation, electricity and buildings will all have to reduce their emissions significantly in the upcoming years to meet the clean energy targets by 2050.

New Jersey’s Extensive Clean Energy Initiative

Looking at those levels of solar capacity, New Jersey’s current electricity load would double, with electrification of 90% of space and water heating in many buildings as well as must vehicles running on the power of the sun. Governor Murphy called this master plan a way of “weaning the state off its century-old addiction to fossil fuels.”

The energy strategy will cost almost the same as “business as usual”, increasing the energy system spending by only 0.2% of gross state product in the next 30 years and further reducing total costs when you count clean air health benefits and the social cost of carbon. In this strategy scenario, New Jersey is including fossil fuels but making an effort to be zero-carbon biogas and hydrogen by 2050 and beyond.

New Jersey—A State of Firsts

In one of the most important, seven key strategies of Governor Murphy’s master plan, New Jersey state law will now not sign off on a proposed building project if it “does not align with our broader efforts to combat climate change.” says Murphy, further adding “It will either need to be amended, or it will not be approved. In this, New Jersey will lead the nation and set the standard.”

This radical need for change and positive forward movement comes from the challenges the Governor recognizes that the state of New Jersey is imminently facing. With steadily rising sea levels along the Jersey coast and the harmful effects of fossil fuel emissions affecting the health of millions, this master energy plan looks to help abolish some of these challenges. At Intersect Energy, our turnkey energy solutions provide further assistance to the efforts put forth by the state of New Jersey. We offer assessment, design, financing, installation and alternative energy management to commercial and industrial companies who are looking to lessen their carbon footprint. For continued news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Renewable Energy Predictions for 2020

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2019 saw an abundance of clean energy dominance in the United States. From 11 states having a 100% commitment or achievement to clean energy to solar and solar battery storage prices becoming more and more affordable throughout the country, clean, renewable energy is here to stay. With that being said, we’re looking to the future. What will 2020 hold? What can we expect from clean energy in the next decade?

Solar+ Decade

SEIA, the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry, announced that the 2020’s would be the Solar+ Decade. Their radical vision predicts that by the end of the decade, solar energy will account for 20% of all U.S. electricity generation. This is an attainable goal thanks to progressions in clean energy sources and solar storage systems.

If successful, not only will this initiative be great for the environment, it will also bring about new job opportunities, cleaner air, lower energy bills, better health and add billions of dollars back into the United States economy. With solar popularity soaring, prices will continue to fall, and SEIA predicts solar installations will hit a record high of 19 gigawatts this year, enough to power over 3 million homes.

Policy Change

For this vision to become a reality, Congress and the White House will need to create pro-solar policies and put an end to solar tariffs. Tax policies will need to be updated and trade laws must propel growth. State policies must continue with their forward momentum—carving out specific renewable standards that create opportunities for all forms of solar generation.

A recent financial sector survey states that between now and 2030, the U.S. private investment in renewable energy could reach up to $1 trillion. Achieving this would greatly help with renewable growth, promoting technologies like storage systems, modernized transmission systems and the deployment of pollution-free renewable power.

End of an Era for Coal and Natural Gas

More than half of today’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. But, since 2010, we have seen a rapid decline in the use of coal, with over 500 coal-fired power units closing. We see this decline continue into the future as renewable energy has been beating coal on cost in parts all over the country. In 2018, 74% of U.S. coal plants were more expensive than renewables, with coal generation falling 18%.

2020 and beyond will also hope to see the demise of natural gas. Causing the unnecessary heating of our planet, carbon pollution and harmful health factors, the need to stop burning gas has never been greater. Gas has now replaced coal as being among the largest source of carbon pollution in many parts of the country. Most gas is burned in areas that are densely populated. Because policymakers are concerned about dirty air and clean energy is now cheaper than gas, many cities are banning the use of gas in new construction.

The road may be rocky and cluttered with obstructions, but we believe the solar industry will expand exponentially this decade. While ambitious, the goal of 20% clean energy generation is achievable. At Intersect Energy, our goals align with SEIA. We believe our solar development projects can help to maximize the economic benefits for our clients. Let’s continue this forward progression into the future. For all your green energy needs, look to the professionals at Intersect Energy. To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Projections See U.S. and Canada Lowering Conventional Energy Use With Distributed Energy Resources on the Rise

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DNV GL, a world-leader in quality assurance and risk management services for maritime, oil, gas, power and renewable industries, recently released their annual Energy Transition Outlook for 2019 with projections into the year 2050. This report is DNV GL’s view on the future of energy and what the path ahead most likely will look like. While the United States and Canada are both projected to see an increase in population and wealth, the total energy usage will be lowered by about 30%. Why? An increase in CO2 free electricity by use of Distributed Energy Resources of Solar and Wind.

The study shows that by the year 2050, the United States and Canada are both looking at 24% of their total electricity use coming from solar PV. This will be made possible because by the late 2020’s, 962 GWac of solar power will be generated, being installed at a rate of 35 to 45GWac of capacity per year.

Wind turbines will be generating almost 50% of electricity by 2050, with onshore wind climbing to 26% and offshore wind rising to 22% from 0% of today. Hydro and nuclear power, respectively, will be around 8% and gas-fired generation will hover around 10%. Coal, a non-renewable energy resource, will account for about 0% of generation as early as the ‘30’s. This means that by 2050, over 80% of electricity being generated in the United States and Canada will be coming from distributed energy resources.

Seasonal energy storage wasn’t included in the report. The battery storage systems considered were from flow, lithium ion batteries, pumped hydroelectric energy storage and electric vehicles. Standalone systems that use lithium ion batteries deliver only a small amount of energy storage, while electric vehicles (EV) and flow batteries offer greater energy storage services.

In the coming years, DNV GL anticipates that globally, 12 TWac of solar power will be installed, with China leading the pack—being responsible for a little over 4 TWac, while 2 TWac of that capacity will be coming from India (TWac refers to the nominal power output when converted from DC to AC). At this point in time, DNV GL predicts that one-third of global electricity will come from PV. By the ‘30’s, 600 GWac will be installed annually, with solar power making up 60% of all new electricity generating capacity installed each year.

Regional energy usage will still heavily be composed of nonrenewable resources like coal, oil and nuclear fuels in the foreseeable future. But, the CO2 emissions from these nonrenewable sources will slowly begin to decline due to efficiency gains versus the lack of newer, cleaner sources. By 2050, we’re looking at electricity accounting for 45% of total energy used, with 90% coming from CO2 free distributed energy resources.

At Intersect Energy, we provide analysis, financing and structuring of alternative energy solutions to our clients. Our goal is to reduce your site’s environmental impact while helping to maximize your savings. Our distributed energy resources including solar, wind, cogeneration, CHP and fuel cells help save an average of 20% in energy cost to our clients. Lower your conventional energy usage by trusting in the experts at Intersect Energy for all your green energy needs! To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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EOUS By Intersect Energy

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Intersect Energy, LLC has developed a revolutionary portable packaging of solar power with a battery system. This system allows for immediate and rapid expansion of remote electrification for rural development, humanitarian relief, commercial and military uses. Intersect’s unit, named EOUS, is a green way to supply power for beyond the grid (BTG) distributed resources. The EOUS system can provide 7-12 kW anywhere in the world for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If more power is needed, another unit can easily be tied into the existing system. We believe our system is also a perfect green solution for rapid deployment when power isn’t readily available due to disasters, weather or blackouts.

Each individual EOUS unit utilizes up to 120 module solar panels and batteries of 300-400 kW sizing to completely optimize the space inside of a standard ISO 20-foot container, allowing for over 40 kW direct current (DC) nameplate capacity for each unit. The battery system is placed in the bottom two racks of EOUS, providing stability for the unit.

At Intersect Energy, we recognize that skilled labor is in short supply in most BTG areas that require this level of power. Therefore, we engineered our EOUS unit’s installation to be as simple as possible. 90% of EOUS is wired out in the manufacturing facility, meaning that the remaining installation is almost as simple as a plug and play scenario. A quick connect electrical system is used to allow someone with little to no experience to set up the system in as little as 4-6 hours with energy becoming immediately available, sourced solely from the sun.

EOUS allows electric energy to be supplied at a much lower cost to rural communities, during disaster or in conflict zones—anywhere in the world. EOUS is rugged and can withstand most weather conditions, making it the best energy solution for multiple initiatives. Each EOUS unit is designed to work independently from an existing grid and can be easily transported, deployed and up in running in no time.

California Naval Base to Test Similar Transportable Battery Storage Systems as EOUS

Interestingly enough, Northern Reliability Inc. (NRI) was selected by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to develop a similar product as Intersect Energy’s EOUS for the U.S. Navy. This Battery Energy Storage System, better known as BESS, is being launched at a Southern California Naval base in early 2020 where it will go through testing and operational use.

The creation of these systems is looking to combine solar energy and the BESS along with Navy site generation to provide backup power to naval equipment and facilities when faced with electrical outages due to combat, blackouts, disasters and weather. Much like EOUS, these naval solar power battery systems will be transportable, rapidly deployable and able to work independently or together with the larger local electrical grid.

Intersect’s Cutting-Edge Technology

With each passing day, microgrids are becoming more common; however, the use of transportable microgrids is a somewhat new concept. Our development is revolutionary—taking away the difficulty (money, skilled labor, time) to connect to existing grids as well as completely abolishing the need for fossil fuel. We believe transportable microgrids could be the missing, essential piece of the puzzle for disaster relief areas and military zones where the power from an existing grid has been disrupted.

At Intersect Energy, we provide turnkey solutions to our customers, offering assessment, design, financing, installation and management services. Our EOUS unit is the best energy solution and should be considered in any sustainable initiative. Decrease your electricity prices by increasing your solar energy consumption with Intersect! To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Is It Worth Going Solar? Decreasing Solar Prices Have Naysayers Making Noise

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Since the early 2000’s, we’ve seen retail electricity prices steadily rise, about 1.5% per year since 2005. This can be justified due to several different reasons—rising costs of power production, power grid updates and maintenance, transmission and distribution as well as the continued price increase of natural gas. Many solar cynics believe that renewable resources are making electricity more expensive, but the data suggests that this is just not true. Going solar makes sense in a market where we see solar+ storage prices drastically decreasing.

The Impact of Renewable Resources   

A study conducted by the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), looked at the impact of renewable resources on power prices, realizing that our power markets are ever-evolving. They found that overall, wind and solar production have both reduced the annual average wholesale prices of electricity. The greatest effect occurred from 2008 through 2012 as the shale boom developed and gas prices plummeted after the ‘08 recession. From 2012 through 2017 this shifted, and we see wind and solar production booming. LBNL then predicts from 2017 through 2022 wholesale costs are projected to increase.

As the prices of electricity in the US slowly rise, natural gas prices used for electric generation continue to fall at an average rate of 8.4% per year since 2006. The study conducted by LBNL shows that where wind and solar penetrations were greatest— California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) for example—we see the biggest decline in prices due to the renewable resources being the greatest in these areas.

Within these particular areas, the markets showed fluctuating reasons for these price declines from renewable resources. CAISO leads the market for solar power, representing a third of all solar power installed across the nation and they also hold the greatest effect. Heavy wind and solar production also contributed to negative pricing moments between 2015 and 2017.

Could Electricity Prices Fall in the Future?

Highly unlikely. The price of natural gas has fallen significantly in recent years, but many expect these prices to rise once America’s gas supply is introduced to international markets. Another contributing factor—climate change. With the rapid fluctuations in extreme temperatures, this drives up the need for electricity as more is needed for heating or cooling. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA), also predicts electricity prices to increase both in short– and long-term instances, regardless of the decreasing prices of wind and solar energy.

Do you have an interest in lowering your energy costs or upgrading your facility to keep up with efficiency and output? Turn to the experts at Intersect Energy! We provide turnkey solutions to our customers, offering assessment, design, financing, installation and management services. Decrease your electricity prices by increasing your solar energy consumption with Intersect! To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Renewable Tax Incentives for the Win in Congress

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For the last five years, homeowners and commercial business owners have enjoyed the benefits of the solar investment tax credit. This tax credit (ITC) allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system to your property from your federal taxes. This saves the shopper on average about $9,000. Now, House Democrats have drafted a clean energy package to extend this tax credit to wind and energy storage industries as well as add another five-year extension. Not only could this advanced tax credit reduce emissions, it could also create thousands of jobs and boost the economy. Enjoying bi-partisan support in the House, this development makes clean energy accessible and affordable for everyday Americans.

The Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now Act (GREEN) outlines revisions to the tax code that extends the ITC and maintains certain incentives for renewables. According to a poll conducted by Global Strategy Group, nationwide, the support for extending this act is at 89%. The poll was conducted with registered voters from 10 swing states and 25 battleground House districts. GSG saw House and Senate voters across the country unite, regardless of their political background, to support renewable energy and the tax incentives it offers.

Arguments supporting the need for solar incentive extensions saw voters nationwide focusing on improvements in health (50%) and aiding the economy (50%) as the top two most important issues with addressing climate change at 46% of voters.

Broken down even further, at the House level, votes resulted in 49% for improvements in health, with climate change and a more favorable economic outcome at 45% and 43%, respectively. In the Senate districts, voters listed health care for an extension as the most important at 47%, with economic arguments and climate change arguments at 45% and 43%, respectively. GSG’s poll also saw negative attacks against the tax incentive do little damage, where nationwide only 32% said they had no major doubts.

Since its inception back in 2005, the ITC has created over 200,000 solar jobs and has generated over $100 billion in solar investments. With more and more important members of Congress recognizing the very real climate change crisis, this tax package has extensive support. The American people—both Republicans and Democrats—are uniting over this important issue, overwhelmingly supporting the need for clean energy. Continuing this initiative with the tax extension could see a rise in solar energy use throughout the U.S., growing the percentage from 2% to even more in the future.

At Intersect Energy, we are an on-site energy company. We offer our customers alternative energy solutions to reduce their environmental impact while maximizing their savings. From assessment, design, financing, installation and management, we do it all. All our projects are carried out with the highest-quality materials and our experienced team provides the best in workmanship to maximize the benefits for our clients. To keep up with all the latest news in the world of renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn!

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The Bright Future of Solar Power

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Our biggest source of energy, the Sun emits enough energy to completely satisfy the entire human demand for energy for over two hours! In the past few years, we’ve seen a steady rise in the deployment of large-scale solar power operations, with installations over the next few years set to reach a record high. New advancements in technology have increased these record high numbers, making solar paneling more efficient while driving down costs. While there have been a few setbacks in the quest to go solar, recent research conducted by BloombergNEF shows wind and solar energy being the least expensive forms of power in over two-thirds of the world.

Technological Advances to Power the Future  

Solar power technology is in a constant state of innovation, with new advancements being announced almost every week. This year, we’ve seen advancements in solar skin design, solar powered roads, wearable solar and solar batteries, as well as bifacial PV modules and the growing application of single-axis trackers. By the end of 2019, the solar industry is set to grow 17.5% because of decreasing costs of photovoltaics (PV) and storage technologies that were not anticipated a few years back.

Why Solar Is The Answer

Although manufacturing solar panels does use some fossil fuel, the overall use is significantly less than the use of fossil fuels in generation of power. Burning fossil fuels emits several  harmful pollutants into the air that can potentially damage the environment and the public’s health. The economic cost of this is exponential, estimating costs around $9 trillion between 1970 and 2000. Not only that, fossil fuels are limited—meaning they will run out eventually. The cost of solar has decreased by over half in the last decade, making fossil fuels increasingly less competitive.

One reported drawback with solar energy—it’s limited availability to daytime hours—is being quickly resolved with the development of advanced solar storage systems. These storage systems capture energy produced throughout the day to be used at a later time. California, more specifically Northern California, is well versed in the use of these storage systems due to the recent increase in city wide blackouts that have been overwhelming many counties across the state. However, the cost of these energy storage systems has decreased over the years making them extremely accessible and useful for facilities, residences and businesses who live near these mandatory blackouts. California and Nevada both recently signed power purchase agreements for more solar megawatts as well as additional battery storage.

The second major drawback of solar is the current state of technology isn’t as efficient as it can be, wasting a large chunk of the sun’s power. But, with the rapidly decreasing cost of technology combined with the advancements in solar and how it is being stored, we see less and less power being wasted.

Breathing Easy

Not only beneficial to the environment and the economy, renewable energy creates a positive impact on the air we breathe. A study conducted by MIT predicted that by 2030, if U.S. states hit their target goal of 13% renewable energy, we could see a decrease in healthcare costs ($4.7 billion) due to reduced air pollution. The use of renewable energy resources reduces the risk of cardio and respiratory issues among a slew of other health benefits.

What does this mean for the future of solar? The outlook is bright. With all the technological advancements we’ve seen through the years like efficiency upgrades, solar storage enhancements and the improvement of solar equipment capabilities, it all points to a more effective and efficient future for solar energy.

At Intersect Energy, we are an on-site energy company. We have developed solar, CHP, fuel cell and wind projects for commercial and industrial clients across New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. With our turnkey service we provide to our customers, we deliver an average of 20% cost savings in energy. To keep up with all the latest news in the world of renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn!

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MISO-West Cuts Renewable Resource Projects in Pursuance of Continuous Transmission System Upgrades

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In a world that’s increasingly seeing the need for connection through alternative mediums, such as distributed generation, many big-time grid energy operators are choosing to collectively cutback on their renewable resource projects. One such company, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), has actively suspended 3.5 GW of renewable projects in the Western portion of their queue this year. Why? The need for transmission system upgrades are said to be tedious, continuous and expensive.

Anytime any kind of significant development happens within a project, we look to the energy stakeholders for more information. But, as we’re all too familiar with, these particular “breakthrough development happenings” often don’t result in any work actually being done on such projects.

For MISO, this has been all too real. With over 50 GW solar projects awaiting interconnection, most of these renewable projects are in danger of never starting. Reason being? Required transmission system upgrades.

This news comes as somewhat of a shock after two successful projects completed in recent years. One project in mind, initiated back in 2011 (and since completed) is by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The ERCOT recognized the need to upgrade and improve transmissions, delivering power through new renewable resources, like wind. Named Multi-Value transmission line project, (MVP) this project is said to carry 25 GW in solar capacity. Also worth mentioning is another smaller project, CapX2020. This joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utility companies in Minnesota and the surrounding areas has also been completed, amounting in 3.6 GW of wind power.

So, what’s the problem? Specifically, a series of 5 GW solar projects in the Upper Midwest. These projects have been cut in half, down to 1.5 GW. While being in the infant stages, they were still partially funded, with several of them having power purchase agreements in place. For MISO, this results in precious time and effort wasted as well as a significant amount of money lost. The Clean Grid Alliance, who analyzed these MISO solar projects, estimates the losses at around $100 million. This number may seem more appealing when presented with the Production Tax credit that was lost by canceling these solar projects. We’re seeing costs totaling $1 billion with an additional $15 million annually divided up between landowner payments.

The need for distributed generation is ever present—the world needs more resilient and reliable forms of energy. Companies like Gridworks and GridLab have done extensive research, outlining the positives of distributed energy resources, claiming to be able to power the state of New Jersey. With arguments like these present, we are hopeful that renewable projects will continue to thrive, with the cutbacks decreasing overtime.

Here at Intersect Energy, we’re an on-site energy company that has developed many solar, CHP, fuel cell and wind projects. All our projects are done with the highest quality materials and our team of expert technicians provide the best craftsmanship to wholly maximize economic benefits for our clients. We believe in the importance of distributed generation and offer turn-key energy solutions to reduce operating costs and sources of local green energy. To keep up with all the latest news in the world of renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn!

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Distributed Generation for Tomorrow’s World and Beyond

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Arguments against the installation of rooftop solar and distributed generators have been ongoing for years. While many companies see distributed generation (DG) as an unnecessary capital expense, the value of adding a power system based on DG (even a small part) can actually save money versus consuming power generated from hundreds of miles away by the conventional means.

The demand for other options for power has been an increasingly hot topic recently as California has been hit with more power shutdowns, leaving many residents in the dark for days at a time. The need for a power system based on DG became a lot clearer to the residents of California after the most recent blackouts in October have affected more than 700,000 customers.

Keeping the Lights on During Blackouts

To keep the potential threat of devastating wildfire breakouts caused by power-lines at bay, the California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric Company, has been implementing public safety power shutoffs for over half a million residents in Northern California throughout the month of October. Within the first two weeks of the month, we saw a staggering 738,000 residents lose power and according to the latest news from PG&E, it looks like these threats continue—as late as October 29th, PG&E released a statement declaring more public safety power shutoffs are imminent as they track another round of severe heavy winds. This news could affect over 30 counties across Northern and Central California.

PG&E’s mandatory shutdowns have been leaving hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark. With these blackouts becoming more common, people are seeing the advantage of solar power and battery storage to keep their homes and facilities online. California businesses and residences have realized now that they need to become more resilient against these happenings.

New Abnormal

While most Californians know that simple rooftop solar systems aren’t going to provide enough power in the event of a system wide shut off, solar storage systems such as solar batteries can help keep homes plugged in at a normal consumption level. In the event of a disaster or power outage, being able to communicate is key and residents have become increasingly aware of this need.

Sunrun, the leading residential solar company in the United States, is estimating that over 25% of their new customers will be purchasing the Brightbox Battery System, which is a storage service that generates, stores and manages solar energy—putting the consumer in control, letting you choose how much energy you want to backup and when incase of a blackout.

Community Microgrids

In some areas, talks of installing community microgrids to keep critical facilities, like hospitals, fire stations and schools online during a blackout have been considered. The community microgrid would be connected to the main power grid, but the benefit would be that during an outage, the community microgrid would have the option to isolate itself and keep running, powering important facilities and fundamentals because of the use of solar battery storage systems.

What’s Next?

With the addition of new, distributed generators like rooftop solar and wind turbines, this could greatly reduce the need for new power lines, lessening the risk of deadly wildfires. In California’s 2017-2018 transmission plan, the grid operator had cancelled over a dozen new transmission projects, while revising 21 more due to solar and energy efficiency forecasts, saving California $2.6 billion on power lines. While there are some roadblocks and technicalities that still need to be overcome, (like effective net metering) Clean Coalition, an advocacy group for locally produced energy, has set a goal for the year 2025 of 25% of electricity demand to be generated from local renewables.

Climate-related disasters aren’t going away (they’re increasing in fact) and many residents, associations and businesses are aware of this. EnergySage, a marketplace for consumers to research and shop for solar options online, saw the interest of energy storage spike by 11% in the blackout areas of California over the span of a year. While many companies and coalitions are working on programs highlighting the worth of solar energy, we’re not quite there yet. The solar market is still in its early stages but the desire to keep the power on—by a different means that what we’re used to—grows with each passing blackout.

Here at Intersect Energy, we’re an on-site energy company that has developed many solar, CHP, fuel cell and wind projects. All our projects are done with the highest quality materials and our team of expert technicians provide the best craftsmanship to wholly maximize economic benefits for our clients. To keep up with all the latest news in the world of renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn!

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