Acadia Center today released a study that quantifies the grid and societal benefits of solar photovoltaic systems (solar PV) in New Hampshire. Establishing the value of distributed resources is increasingly important as states explore ways to meet energy needs and deploy clean energy resources. Acadia Center has also released Value of Solar studies for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont , and Maine’s Public Utilities Commission completed a similar type of analysis to inform decision making processes in that state.
Acadia Center assessed the grid and societal value of six solar PV systems to better understand the overall value that solar PV provides to the grid. By evaluating an array of configurations, this analysis determines that the value of solar to the grid – and ratepayers connected to the grid – ranges from 19-24 cents/kWh, with additional societal values of 6.7 cents/kWh
“Solar generation is a valuable local energy resource that provides significant benefits to ratepayers,” said Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst, Energy Systems & Carbon Markets. Solar PV provides unique value to the electric grid by reducing energy demand, providing power during peak periods, and avoiding generation and related emissions charges from conventional power plants. The overall grid value of solar is the sum total of these different benefits.
In addition to the value that solar provides to the grid, Acadia Center’s study finds that solar PV provides broader societal benefits, including environmental gains from reduced or avoided greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. “Societal benefits should be included when assessing the overall costs and benefits of solar PV and determining additional incentives,” said Leslie Malone, Acadia Center Senior Analyst and an author of the report.
Currently, net metering is capped in New Hampshire, and utilities in the state are quickly reaching capped limits. A bipartisan group of legislators are looking at the possibility of temporarily raising the cap, while directing the Public Utilities Commission to revise how net-metered solar PV is credited.
“We hope that adding to the understanding of the value that solar provides to the grid and ratepayers will help inform this proceeding,” said Malone. One of the key findings of this analysis is that a “flat” system of compensation – such as net metering – can distort the market for solar PV by inadequately valuing the benefits that west-facing systems provide in mitigating costs driven by afternoon peak demand. The analysis also shows that in all cases, the value to the grid is more than the average residential retail rate of solar PV.
Acadia Center will be presenting the results of this study to the New Hampshire Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy (EESE) Board meeting on Friday, October 16th. For more information and methodology see:
Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst, Energy Systems and Carbon Markets
Leslie Malone, Senior Analyst
Kiernan Dunlop, Communications Associate
617-742-0054 x107, firstname.lastname@example.org
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