Self-Consumption PV Systems: Page 10 of 10
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Self-consumption will first evolve in Hawaii because of very high utility prices and an unstable grid caused by high penetration of PV and wind. Allowing further deployments of PV and wind on these grids requires self-consumption. Hawaii will also require PV and storage systems to take a more active role in grid support functions.
I see self-consumption indirectly evolving on the continental US through the installation of PV and storage systems to reduce demand charges and participate in ancillary services. As energy rates increase and more NEM programs disappear, these systems will transition to performing voluntary self-consumption due to simple economic forces.
—Kent Sheldon, Greensmith Energy Management Systems
Considering what happened in Germany with changes to feed-in tariffs and higher utility-rate tariffs, you can expect similar regulatory changes to have an impact on PV systems in the US. Some markets have already seen dramatic changes on the regulatory side, and residential demand charges and distribution access charges are likely to become a reality. Storage systems will continue to provide solutions that help future-proof customers. The number of storage system installations will increase, not only because of potential regulatory changes and customer desire to consume more of the solar energy they produce, but also because of the declining cost of energy storage technology. Storage will become a standard part of the solar installation, instead of an add-on.
—Greg Smith, sonnen
Sunverge Energy just announced its next-generation system, which offers more lithium-ion battery chemistry options than before, in a smaller footprint and at a reduced price. Systems will continue to improve and become more attractive to consumers. At the same time, the most important advances are in the intelligence of the systems and the control platform in the cloud, which will make possible this transition to power as a service, as well as much more intelligent, automatic and efficient management of distributed power resources.
—Stu Statman, Sunverge Energy
Today’s market is in its infancy. Installers are kitting together solutions using the products and tools available, few of which were designed specifically for grid-tied self-consumption systems. As the market develops, inverters will likely transition from a narrow focus on energy production to a broader perspective of energy management. Systems will become easier to design and install as designers learn from the lessons of the PV industry in terms of modularity and repeatability.
—Philip Undercuffler, OutBack Power Technologies
Due to rising PV system saturation, net-metering schemes will end in more and more US states. This will give momentum to the paradigm change in using PV systems—from earning money through high feed-in rates or net metering, to energy cost reduction through enhanced self-consumption rates and higher self-sufficiency levels for households with PV systems, including storage.
The rising number of smart homes in the US will contribute to using self-generated PV energy more efficiently. With a network of appliances in the smart home, load shifting will become an easy-to-realize standard for energy efficiency measures in the near future. Appliances will automatically use power when the sun provides it at sufficient levels.
—Martin Volkmar, SMA Solar Technology
Joe Schwartz / SolarPro / Ashland, OR / solarprofessional.com