Distributed generation is energy made at or near where it will be used, but still tied into the electric grid. It can serve a single family or business, or may be part of a microgrid or a shared solar array. Renewable distributed generation technologies include solar, wind, geothermal, and other clean energy resources.
Clean distributed generation is a key component of the evolving, more modern electric grid. Here’s why:
- Declining costs–the cost of solar and wind have fallen dramatically in recent years, and trends indicate it will continue to decrease.
- Lower transmission costs–distributed generation for nearby use avoids transmission and distribution costs. This is far more efficient than generating electricity at a central power plant and sending it to customers who live hundreds of miles away.
- Reliability and resiliency–solar and wind can dramatically improve reliability and resiliency by providing additional and diversified sources of power to the electric grid. As we saw during Hurricane Sandy, centralized grids are prone to power outages. Solar photovoltaic systems can be combined with energy storage and/or a microgrid to avoid electricity outages.
- Long-term price stability–Reliable solar and wind resources aren’t subject to volatile price fluctuations, unlike dirty fossil fuels or natural gas.
- Long-term savings–Over time, solar decreases rates by providing electricity that has already been paid for by the owner. Unlike natural gas prices that are subject to volatile spikes, solar continues to provide clean, reliable electricity to the grid at no additional cost.
- Jobs that can’t be outsourced–Local economies also benefit from distributed generation. A January 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Energy found that solar makes up the largest segment of Connecticut’s electric power generation workforce, with 2,927 jobs. Solar panels are installed, operated, and maintained by local workers!
Want more clean, distributed energy? Support our efforts to bring solar to everyone—even renters and people with shaded roofs—through a shared solar program! Shared solar projects could be planned with utilities to help strengthen the grid in places where there are currently transmission and distribution weaknesses—which would benefit area residents AND help utilities avoid expensive electric investments. Find out more about shared solar here.
Did you know that Connecticut landlords can pair on-site renewable generation with submetering? Submetering lets a landlord, condo association, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property bill tenants for individual utility usage, which rewards tenants who conserve energy. CFE advocates for this policy change in both the legislature and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority. Find out more about submetering here.