We love our solar users and appreciate their strong desire to make a tangible, positive impact on the Energy Grid and the environment. However, there are some challenges in how we account for our solar user reductions, particularly as we work with Utilities as a Demand Response Provider.
The context of this challenge centers around a couple general considerations:
- Power delivery infrastructure. Our monthly electric bills include upkeep of the infrastructure that enables power delivery to our homes. Even when solar users are not drawing power from the Grid, they still represent a cost associated by the Utility in the upkeep of the delivery structure, including the excess solar power being fed back into the Grid. The Grid was not originally designed for 2 way delivery.
- Economic disparity. Utilities are mandated to buy back power at $.20/kWh even when wholesale prices are a fraction of this price.
These issues, and a number of others, present a challenge in allowing residential solar to scale along side residential Demand Response. We do our best in making some assumptions in allowing our solar users to still participate in Demand Response, but from time to time, there are bug-like interactions that surface.
More often than not, these issues are not technically bugs but user scenarios that identify weaknesses in our calculation assumptions. These can be exceptionally difficult to fix as within our solar user base there are other variables for consideration (battery storage, daylight seasonality, geographic sunlight availability, etc.)