Eight ways your solar benefits everyone

The utilities killed the Solar Bill of Rights by falsely telling lawmakers that your solar is an expensive burden on the electrical grid. That claim, greased by campaign contributions and scores of lobbyists, prompted influential lawmakers to secretly gut the bill.

Solar users know the truth: your solar system not only benefits you individually, but the entire community as well. Now, a new report by the nonprofit Environment America spells out many of the ways your solar benefits society. In this post, we summarize eight of those benefits.

1) Avoided electricity costs. “Solar energy sent to the grid reduces the amount of electricity that utilities must generate or purchase from power plants,” according to the report.

2) Reduced line losses. Your extra solar is cheaper to move to your neighbors than electricity from far away. That’s because the longer the power line, the more electricity gets lost along the way.

3) Cheaper energy prices. The fancy word is “market price response”. Put simply, your solar reduces overall demand for electricity, which often drives down the price of electricity your utility purchases from other sources (called the “wholesale market”).

4) Avoided capacity, transmission and distribution investment. For example, the state saved $2.6 billion in 2018 because it was able to reduce the number of transmission upgrade projects (Source, toplines on pp. 2, 3, 17).

5) Reduced exposure to price volatility. That’s because your utility has to rely less on natural gas, which has a history of price swings that negatively impact all ratepayers. A different organization, Vote Solar, estimates the state saved $350 million this year alone by reducing its exposure to natural gas prices.

6) Improved grid resiliency and reliability. Having lots of people making and storing energy all over the place makes the electrical grid more resilient if a major power line or power plant goes down. Several state lawmakers made this point recently as part of a last-ditch effort to save the Solar Bill of Rights.

7) Health and environmental benefits. There’s a lot in here for those interested in this angle. Another stat we came across recently: Vote Solar estimates the state saved $215 million in 2018 from health benefits and reduced water use alone.

8) Local jobs and businesses. Solar creates local, good-paying jobs that can’t get outsourced.

Get the full Environment America report here.

Thanks for all you do!