3 Ways Consumers Have Gained Power Over Utilities

The power landscape is rapidly changing and the monopoly once held by the utility industry is starting to become tenuous. In states like California, Arizona, and Hawaii, solar energy from your own rooftop is now cheaper than buying power from the grid and homeowners have become a notable player in the industry. 

Today, consumers can not only create their own energy and use it, they can also store it for later use, as well as sell it to the utility for competitive prices. 

In the video below, solar specialist Travis Hoium covers how consumers are a huge threat and the opportunity facing traditional utilities and why SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) , SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) , and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG  ) are leading the way. 

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  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2014, at 6:05 PM, JackB125 wrote:

    I wouldn't be surprised if some amount of local energy storage proportional to a PV system's generation capacity becomes mandatory on solar power installations (both commercial and residential) that are connected to the grid. Some portion of this storage will likely be under the control of the connecting Utility.

    JB Straubel, Tesla Motors' Chief Technical Officer, gave the keynote address on 5/21/14 to the 2014 Energy Storage Symposium. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWSox7mLbyE .

    Straubel speculates on a possible future where energy storage solutions becomes Tesla's primary business surpassing BEV manufacturing. Very interesting talk.

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2014, at 8:01 PM, fool1953 wrote:

    IMHO I have looked at Solar for my house and the economics is horrendous. I pay about $110 a month electric bill for a two story house. With tax credits it I cover my roofs with solar panels, install inverters, etc. it would be at the very least $20,000 even with the 30% federal tax credit. If I am lucky I might be able to cover my power cost for 4 hours of the day if the sun is shining. Plus what if I have a problem with the equipment. The inverters are complex power electronics that probably have a life of 10 years at max. I live in the Midwest and for Solar to pay back installation would have to drop about half and rates would have to triple. Maybe in Hawaii it might work but I don't even believe in California it would be worth it. If you want to install it as a hobby or are environmentally concerned that might be a good reason. It is just not economical. The solar companies are using this 20 year lease deal to install panels at no cost to the homeowner and save them on their bill. IMHO I think this may be a ploy for them to claim up front revenues to make it look like a growing company. Stock goes up execs award themselves options and their families live well. I don't think the business model will work for the company. Once again IMHO Although I always seem to be wrong on these things, lol.

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