Joining the rest of the utility power companies, Energex, a Queensland electricity network operator, believes that rooftop solar is destroying its traditional business model.
The concept of generating power at a centralized location, and then distributing it to thousands of people via an electricity grid was created to benefit from economies of scale, while keeping the source of power plant pollutant and noise emissions out of residential areas. However, such benefits of scale apply only to fossil-fueled and nuclear power plants.
Rooftop solar systems generate no noise, no pollutants, and they cost less (over the life of the system) than average retail electricity prices in the US. 50 years ago, solar panels would have been too expensive and inefficient for rooftops, and people would have had to use noisy, smoky, vibrant diesel- or gasoline-fueled generators.
The times have changed, and so have our needs, as well as options.
The electricity grid still provides the benefit of backup for rooftop solar systems, but, those systems, with the use of net metering, enable their owners to buy less, or even no electricity from utility companies. Whether or not a power company is evil, it won’t appreciate that.
Could we be approaching a shakeout for power companies?
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