California Ratepayers may Benefit from Excess Solar Power
According to the Los Angeles Times, California set two renewable energy records last month. The state had the most solar power ever flowing on its main electric grid and it had the most solar power ever taken offline because it wasn’t needed. This excess supply of solar power might benefit ratepayers according to research. The researched was published in the peer-reviewed journal Solar Energy and it suggests that California should embrace the idea of building more solar panels than is needed. Richard Perez, a solar energy expert at the State University of New York at Albany, stated the following regarding the oversupply of solar power,
It’s not like solar is going to be available all the time. At night you will need storage, and on cloudy days you will need storage. But you will need much less of it.
The reasoning behind an excess of solar power being a good thing is that electricity prices would remain low on a power grid dominated by renewable energy. A different study published in March found that solar power can meet high levels of daytime electricity demand without energy storage, but there needs to be enough solar panels on the grid during times when none of them are producing at full capacity. California already has some of the country’s highest electricity rates, so an oversupply of solar power could be embraced by more Californians if it means lower electric bills. Tests run by the California Public Utilities Commission, in which they examined the state’s options for reducing planet-warming emissions while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity, also found that a surplus of solar power makes sense. If the state moved toward getting an excess supply of solar power and electric customers lowered their usage, then it would definitely make electric bills lower for Californians.