Adaptability is the key to survival—both in nature as Charles Darwin observed, and in the business sector. As the solar industry continues to flourish, utility companies across the U.S. are beginning to witness how the traditional electric grid is transforming.
As tens of thousands of residents have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on their rooftops and begin generating their own power, they need less electricity from the utility grid. The issue of net-metering, selling the excess solar energy back to the utility, has sparked a heated debate since utility companies must still incur the costs of maintaining the grid for all users—including the solar homes that are interconnected.
While companies spend their time battling for and against net-metering and state regulators strive to reach a compromise, other disruptive forces are quickly evolving. From battery storage and other renewable technologies to shifting consumer-usage trends and pressure to upgrade the grid, utilities face increasing threats to their centralized service model.