Net metering is a challenge, and probably is not sustainable in it's current form if say everyone that could have solar has an array. The spiraling effect of more people getting solar as rates increase due to the increase of solar is a serious issue that we are looking at. I believe we will go to a fixed infrastructure charge and TOU net-metering with super-on-peak starting near sunset. Get enough people with solar and high noon becomes off peak.
Yes, there obviously has to be some sort of cost associated with using the grid which I don't think most people are opposed to. The challenge comes when defining that cost, as most proposals utilities have had have not appeared very fair.
Currently there's a lot of value in producing power during daylight hours compared to night-time hours (at least after the 7-9pm evening peak). How much longer that will remain true with a large amount of solar hitting the grid? Hard to say.
JeremyW wrote:There's also been a massive build out of utility scale plants, with the CA ISO peak output around 2,800 MW as of yesterday. From just past 9am to about 4:30pm we get more power from utility solar plants than nuclear in California (Diablo Canyon, ~2,200MW). That will eventually increase to an hour after sunrise till an hour before sunset in short order.
Yeah, I noticed that there seems to be another 100 MW of solar added to the grid every month or so it seems lately. I expect that we'll see over 3 GW peak of utility scale solar online by the end of the year.
It's really interesting to watch at the CAISO "Today's Outlook" page
which shows current / projected demand.
If you look at the charts, you can see the impact of distributed/net solar installs on grid demand as a flattening/dip in demand around solar noon (currently just before 1pm). That didn't use to happen a couple years ago!
Is there a way to look at current/historical wholesale market prices? It would be interesting to see how wholesale electricity prices have changed with all the renewables coming online.
I suspect all the renewable energy being bought because of the California RPS is a huge reason why Sempra decided to mothball SONGS nuclear plant instead of trying to fix it - I bet that wholesale peak pricing is getting cheaper and they project it to get a lot cheaper in the years to come thanks to all the solar coming online.