SAN DIEGO, May 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The next 10 years are going to bring a host of new energy choices and a lot more market clout for so-called energy "pro-sumers" -- utility customers who consume energy but also produce it, using their own rooftop solar energy systems -- according to Stellar Solar founding partner, Michael Powers.
In addition to the impressive surge of new solar energy installations in the U.S. – which topped 1 million earlier this month – Powers cited four growing energy trends which are literally putting more power into the hands of solar energy customers everywhere including: 1) community solar; 2) Community Choice Energy or CCE; 3) new progress in peer-to-peer solar energy transactions; and 4) the expansion of regional and even global energy grids, which can move renewable power longer distances to new markets.
"The disadvantage of renewable energy has always been its intermittent nature," Powers explained. "Driven by the sun, solar energy provides more power than you need in the middle of the day and no power at night. It's 'non-dispatchable' – you can't turn it up and down to match customer demands from one hour to the next." In order to take full advantage of solar energy's new widespread popularity, Powers said, there is a need for more flexible markets and more robust transmission systems to move renewable energy to where it is needed. As the pool of solar owners grows, he said, these important market trends are beginning to emerge.
"Community solar" allows groups of people to invest in large, shared solar arrays and apply some credits to their power bill; in this way, apartment-dwellers and lower-income groups can gain access to affordable solar power. Experts are saying that 2016 could be community solar's "breakout year."
"Community Choice Energy" (or CCE and formerly known as Community Choice Aggregation) is a growing trend in California and other states which allows cities and counties to directly purchase energy on behalf of their citizens – usually including a higher percentage of renewable energy – and relegates utilities to simply transmitting and distributing this cleaner power. Marin and Sonoma Counties have had CCE programs for over 2 years now; with Lancaster signing on last year and San Francisco just launched their own CCE program on May 1, called "CleanPowerSF."
Even more exciting, Powers said, were recent successful tests of a "peer-to-peer" solar energy trading system in Brooklyn which allows homes on one side of the street to harvest solar energy and sell it to homes on the other side of the street through a trading system which is independent from the utility and uses computer software called "blockchain" to keep track of the monetary value of the trades. "If successful, this could be the "Uber" of solar energy," Powers said, "allowing a solar owner in one time zone to 'deposit' solar energy into the system and another one miles away to make an 'energy withdrawal' and the computers will simply keep track of the money."
This practice could someday extend to the global level, Powers pointed out, thanks to the plans of State Grid Corp., China's largest utility, to build a global energy grid or "renewable energy internet," over the next 20 years, a project which will take $15-30 trillion and the participation of multiple regional power grid operators on multiple continents. Plans were announced in April 2016 in Beijing and so far, countries including South Korea, Japan and Russia have signed on with China as partners in developing a pan-Asian energy grid to extend as far south as the Philippines.
Quoting experts such as author Jeremy Rifkin, IEEE senior fellow Clark Gellings among others, Powers said these four developments are all part of the "digital disruption" that has already impacted industries like publishing, entertainment, telecommunications and transportation. "The electric utility industry is simply the next one to be re-invented," Powers said, "but the impacts of this change are going to be profound and long-lasting -- because everything we know runs on energy. When you lower the cost of energy, you lower the cost of everything."
Michael Powers, a founding partner of Stellar Solar, one of California's leading commercial and residential solar installers since 1998 was one of the featured speakers at a May 11 meeting hosted by the San Diego Renewable Energy Society and Global Energy Network Institute (GENI). Also presenting was Keri Helmer, Project Assistant for Renewables at the Center for Sustainable Energy. Along with his VP sales and marketing post with Stellar Solar; Powers also serves on the board of GENI. While Stellar Solar "acts locally" as a preferred installer for San Diego home and business owners, it also "thinks globally" through the educational endeavors of industry expert Michael Powers.
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About Stellar Solar
Stellar Solar is a leading California residential and commercial PV solar design and installation company, based in San Diego since 1998 with over 4,000+ installations across Southern California including notable commercial installations on The Salk Institute, US Foods, Cedars Sinai Hospital and more. Readers of the Union Tribune have voted them best solar panel company again in 2015 marking the third year in a row and fourth time in 5 years winning the award. Their 5 Star Reviews on Yelp, A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and high customer ratings on Angie's list are further testament to their standing as the leading solar provider to homes, businesses and faith based organizations in San Diego County. Learn more at www.stellarsolar.net
The Global Energy Network Institute (GENI) focuses on the interconnection of electric power networks between communities, nations and continents, with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources. This strategy is the highest priority of the World Game simulation developed by Buckminster Fuller. Linking renewable energy between all nations mollifies conflicts, grows economies, and increases the quality of life and health for all. Over 25 years, the GENI Initiative has earned the endorsement of 7 Nobel Peace Laureates. Peter Meisen, GENI's executive director, has been featured in the Economist Energy debates, Rotary International Peace conference, New Scientist, IEEE Power Engineering Society and the World Energy Council publications and conferences. With the recent Paris Climate Agreement by the United Nations, GENI now sees every country creating national roadmaps to shift to clean energy resources. www.geni.org
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SOURCE Stellar Solar