Brattle economists have co-authored an article published in
Utilities Policy that discusses how low-cost solar
photovoltaics (PV) and battery electricity storage can potentially
bring about fundamental shifts in the structure of the U.S. power
In the article, the authors analyze how PV-battery systems of
various sizes could reduce the dependence of residential customers
on the central electric grid and evaluate their impact on carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions. They also analyze how the costs
of these systems change as customers attempt to decrease their
dependence on the grid, considering the installed cost of the
PV-battery system and the cost of electricity under a net-energy
metered rate structure.
By analyzing these relationships for residential customers in
five locations across the U.S., the authors find that fully
disconnecting from the grid with a PV-battery system is impractical
for most residential customers without also having dispatchable
backup generation. In addition, the authors estimate how the
economics of behind-the-meter PV-battery systems may change if the
costs of PV systems continue to fall.
The authors conclude that adding distributed PV-battery systems
as a means to offset, but not entirely supplant, grid-supplied
electricity is technically and economically practical. However,
disconnecting from the grid by means of a PV-battery system would
be relatively expensive and technically challenging. Therefore,
these distributed systems would most likely augment rather than
displace the electrical grid in the foreseeable future.
The article, "The practicality of distributed PV-battery
systems to reduce household grid reliance," is authored by
Brattle Principal Philip Hanser, Associate Roger Lueken, Senior
Research Analyst Will Gorman, and Research Analyst James Mashal.
The article is available for purchase here.
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