Benefits and costs of a utility-ownership business model for residential rooftop solar PV systems

August 26, 2020

This webinar summarizes key findings from Berkeley Lab’s recently published study, Benefits and costs of a utility-ownership business model for residential rooftop solar photovoltaic systems. The study, published in the journal Nature Energy, evaluates the financial performance of a hypothetical utility-owned residential rooftop solar program, estimating its effects on both utility shareholder earnings and on non-solar customer bills. On a 20-year net-present-value basis, the program increases shareholder earnings by 2-5% relative to a no-solar scenario, depending on certain assumptions. This compares to a 2% earnings loss when an equivalent amount of rooftop solar is instead owned by non-utility parties. The impacts on non-solar customers are more mixed, with average bills of non-participating customers increasing by 1-3% compared to the no-solar scenario, which is similar to the 2% increase under traditional, non-utility ownership structures with full retail rate net-metering. A pre-print of the paper, along with a link to the published article, is available here

We appreciate the funding support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

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