Distributed solar (read: rooftop, or small-scale ground mount) deployment across the U.S. could be a serious money-saver for the average utility bill ratepayer.
In fact, it is estimated that an increased rate of current distributed generation solar and storage deployment vs. “utility-scale only” model could save U.S. ratepayers over $109 billion by 2030.
A coalition of solar advocates, Local Solar for All, shared this in an analysis of electric grid modeling experts Vibrant Clean Energy. The report found that the U.S. must deploy a minimum of 103 GW of distributed solar and 137 GW of distributed energy storage by 2030 to achieve President Biden’s climate and equity goals at the lowest cost. This represents a growth rate in deployment of two to four times faster than the previous decade.
These deployment figures were derived using President Biden’s climate goals as key constraints: 80% clean electricity by 2030, 50% economy-wide carbon reductions by 2030, 95% economy-wide carbon reductions by 2050, and 100% electrification of the economy by 2050. The report made use of Vibrant Clean Energy’s WIS:dom-P model, which analyzes trillions of data points, including every potential energy resource, and direct costs and benefits associated with bringing different resource mixes onto the grid.
It was also found that a scale-up of distributed resources reduces stress on utility-scale resources, and makes way for 579 GW of utility-scale solar, 442 GW of wind by the close of the decade.
Local Solar For All said that deploying 103 GW by 2030 would create about 1.2 million jobs. The advocacy group also pointed to the need for an equitable and fair energy transition, as laid out by Biden’s Justice40 initiative. It said if 50% of distributed projects are directed to low- and middle-income communities, they could power between 8-15 million households.
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