Solar Panels are the New iPhone: Imagining a Distributed Energy Future


| 3/12/2019 5:06:00 AM


Graphic Hand Holding Cell Phone 

In 1994, only 10% of Americans had a cell phone. And yet, in 15 short years, more Americans had cell phones than landlines. While the rapid adoption of mobile phones can’t be attributed to a single factor, there is one major parallel between the transition from landlines to smart phones and what’s actively happening today in the electricity industry: the transition from a centralized system to a distributed (or decentralized) network.

Electricity and Telecommunications: Parallel Industries

The electricity industry operates in much the same way today that the telecommunications industry operated 30 years ago. In the 1990s, your telephone company likely charged you a fixed fee for monthly service plus a variable, per-minute rate for long-distance calls.

Today your electricity company bills you similarly, with a mix of fixed and variable charges based upon how much electricity you use per month and how much it costs to transmit that electricity to your house.

The parallels between the two industries don’t end there. With landlines, your phone service was physically hardwired to a centralized telecommunications system. Similarly, when you flip on a light switch or plug in your toaster oven, you are connecting directly into an electrical grid that is powered by large, centralized power plants that may be many hundreds of miles from where you live.



And just as the telecommunications industry of the 1990s experienced a major disruption from the decentralized technology of cell phones, so too is today’s electricity industry on the verge of a major disruption as the result of the distributed generation of electricity.

fredparle
3/21/2019 2:19:38 AM

I'm planning an independant home power system . My monthly costs with supply are money wasted I feel . As an engineer I feel that the plant will pay for itself , in less than a year . This will leave me with only fuel and maintainance to pay for . Automation is enssential .


WALTERG
3/20/2019 8:03:45 AM

Utilities don’t want this! They still want to maintain thier total control, ie; here in Florida, “the sunshine state” the utilities convince state government that solar and NET METERING is a BAD thing!! So no net metering here! Until our local governments Make the utilities advance there will be none of this,,, sadly..




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