Solar Has Saved New England Utility Customers Over $1.1 Billion Since 2014

 

A new report analyzing data from New England’s power grid operator, ISO New England, has found that small-scale solar, or behind-the-meter solar, has saved over $1.1 billion since 2014.

The report was done by Synapse Economics, a consulting firm that specializes in energy, economic, and environmental issues, and included recent data that became available in July 2020.

The savings immensely benefit, not only utilities and the owners of behind-the-meter solar facilities but all customers who rely on the energy grid for their electricity throughout New England. It also cited other benefits, including reduced transmission, distribution, and generation capacity costs, but did not provide an estimate for the actual financial return.

Synapse Economics stated “as a result, more [behind-the-meter solar] not only decreases the quantity of electricity purchased, it also reduces the price paid for purchased electricity — which benefits all New England ratepayers,” according to the report.

A breakdown of the report concluded that between 2014 and 2019, the amount of savings from behind-the-meter solar for Massachusetts alone, was $513 million. Connecticut also saved $260 million; New Hampshire, $83 million; Vermont, $79 million; Maine, $68 million; and Rhode Island, $58 million.

The savings include $317 million in load impact benefits and $743 million in price effect benefits, which Synapse Energy Economics Inc. also said are shared by electricity customers throughout New England.

Synapse said that when more customers implement behind-the-meter generation technologies, they consequently purchase less energy from their utility, which allows utilities to avoid “the need to buy power from the most expensive power plant.”, which, in turn, “leads to a lower ‘market-clearing price’ that is paid to all-electric generators on the grid,” the report said.

The data from the report was made up of in-depth detail about the amount of electricity produced every hour by the thousands of small, local solar installations throughout the region.

After thorough analysis, the report showed that local renewable energy sources produced 8,600 GWh of electricity. This amount of electricity is enough to power more than a million New England households for a year.

In addition, the amount of behind-the-meter solar generated in New England helped avoid the release of 6 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency are chemicals proven to have negative impacts on human health.

The benefits of solar go beyond energy cost savings. Self-generation allows customers to become independent from the energy grid and provides emergency backup power during events that lead to outages.

Utility customers interested in investing in solar to save on their energy costs or for energy reliability are encouraged to speak to an energy professional.

Patriot Energy helps utility customers navigate the entire solar installation process and provides complete transparency along the way. After the process is complete, Patriot even clients maximize state and federal incentives utilizing their extensive industry expertise. Contact Patriot if you would like to know more about Solar Plus Storage.

 


The term “behind the meter” (BTM) is used when describing solar and energy storage systems that power homes or buildings without needing the utility. A BTM system not only helps energy users achieve independence from the grid and reduces risk because it increases energy resilience.

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