(Press-News.org) Beyond the environmental benefits and lower electric bills, it turns out installing solar panels on your house actually benefits your whole community. Value estimations for grid-tied photovoltaic systems prove solar panels are beneficial for utility companies and consumers alike.
For years some utility companies have worried that solar panels drive up electric costs for people without panels. Joshua Pearce, Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, has shown the opposite is true -- grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) owners are actually subsidizing their non-PV neighbors.
Most PV systems are grid-tied and convert sunlight directly into electricity that is either used on-site or fed back into the grid. At night or on cloudy days, PV-owning customers use grid-sourced electricity so no batteries are needed.
"Anyone who puts up solar is being a great citizen for their neighbors and for their local utility," Pearce said, noting that when someone puts up grid-tied solar panels, they are essentially investing in the grid itself. "Customers with solar distributed generation are making it so utility companies don't have to make as many infrastructure investments, while at the same time solar shaves down peak demands when electricity is the most expensive."
Pearce and Koami Soulemane Hayibo, graduate student in the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab, found that grid-tied PV-owning utility customers are undercompensated in most of the U.S., as the "value of solar" eclipses both the net metering and two-tiered rates that utilities pay for solar electricity. Their results are published online now and will be printed in the March issue of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
The value of solar is becoming the preferred method for evaluating the economics of grid-tied PV systems. Yet value of solar calculations are challenging and there is widespread disagreement in the literature on the methods and data needed. To overcome these limitations, Pearce and Hayibo's paper reviews past studies to develop a generalized model that considers realistic costs and liabilities utility companies can avoid when individual people install grid-tied solar panels. Each component of the value has a sensitivity analysis run on the core variables and these sensitivities are applied for the total value of solar.
The overall value of solar equation has numerous components:
Avoided operation and maintenance costs (fixed and variable)
Avoided generations capacity.
Avoided reserve capacity (plants on standby that turn on if you have, for example, a large air conditioning load on hot day).
Avoided transmission capacity (lines).
Environmental and health liability costs associated with forms of electric generation that are polluting.
Pearce said one of the paper's goals was to provide the equations to determine the value of solar so individual utility companies can plug in their proprietary data to quickly make a complete valuation.
"It can be concluded that substantial future regulatory reform is needed to ensure that grid-tied solar PV owners are not unjustly subsidizing U.S. electric utilities," Pearce explains. "This study provides greater clarity to decision makers so they see solar PV is truly an economic benefit in the best interest of all utility customers."
Solar PV technology is now a profitable method to decarbonize the grid, but if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided, emissions from transportation and heating must also decarbonize, Pearce argues.
One approach to renewable heating is leveraging improvements in PV with heat pumps (HPs), and it turns out investing in PV+HP tech has a better rate of return than CDs or savings accounts.
To determine the potential for PV+HP systems in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Pearce performed numerical simulations and economic analysis using the same loads and climate, but with local electricity and natural gas rates for Sault Ste. Marie, in both Canada and U.S. North American residents can profitably install residential PV+HP systems, earning up to 1.9% return in the U.S. and 2.7% in Canada, to provide for all of their electric and heating needs.
"Our results suggest northern homeowners have a clear and simple method to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by making an investment that offers a higher internal rate of return than savings accounts, CDs and global investment certificates in both the U.S. and Canada," Pearce said. "Residential PV and solar-powered heat pumps can be considered 25-year investments in financial security and environmental sustainability."
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The huge forces generated by the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories are being used to replicate the gravitational pressures on so-called "super-Earths" to determine which might maintain atmospheres that could support life.
Astronomers believe that super-Earths -- collections of rocks up to eight times larger than Earth -- exist in the millions in our galaxy. "The question before us is whether any of these super planets are actually Earthlike, with active geological processes, atmospheres and magnetic fields," said Sandia physicist Joshua Townsend.
The current ...
Energy efficiency or carbon intensity (defined as CO2 emissions per transport work, ed.) is a possible point of convergence between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and EU regulations to cut GHG emissions and decarbonize shipping. Short term measures to increase energy efficiency and achieve carbon intensity savings include voyage optimization.
A new study led by the CMCC Foundation, realized in the framework of the Interreg Italy-Croatia END ...
New research by Morgan Philbin, PhD, at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues looks at why Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionately subject to high rates of arrest and incarceration. They find that perceived racial discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and HIV-status discrimination are all associated with risk for criminal justice involvement in this population.
The research appears in the journal Stigma and Health.
Various studies have shown that Black men are imprisoned at nearly seven times the rate of white men; sexual minority young adults are nearly three times more likely to report being criminally sanctioned compared to their heterosexual ...
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The cardiac cycle entails the emptying of blood from the atria to the ventricles ("P" wave, red in the image), the contraction of the ventricles to propel blood to the different tissues and organs of the body ("QRS" wave, green in the image), and ...
ATLANTA--ProAgio, a drug developed by Georgia State University biology professor Zhi-Ren Liu and his team, is effective at treating pancreatic cancer and prolonging survival in mice, according to a study published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
A second study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, shows the drug is also effective against triple-negative breast cancer, a fast-growing and hard-to-treat type of breast cancer that carries a poor prognosis.
ProAgio, created from a human protein, targets the cell surface receptor integrin αVβ?, which is expressed on cancer-associated fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells ...
HOUSTON - (Feb. 9, 2021) - Rice University researchers have created a "defective" catalyst that simplifies the generation of hydrogen peroxide from oxygen.
Rice scientists treated metal-free carbon black, the inexpensive, powdered product of petroleum production, with oxygen plasma. The process introduces defects and oxygen-containing groups into the structure of the carbon particles, exposing more surface area for interactions.
When used as a catalyst, the defective particles known as CB-Plasma reduce oxygen to hydrogen peroxide with 100% Faradaic efficiency, a measure of charge transfer in electrochemical reactions. The process shows promise to replace the complex anthraquinone-based production ...
With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its second year, the challenges faced both by individuals and nations remain substantial. While notable medical advancements in the treatment of COVID-19 have been made, a host of questions about how to live with it and how to work to end it remain active.
Carnegie Mellon University researchers David Rode and Paul Fischbeck explore these questions in a new article, "On ambiguity reduction and the role of decision analysis during the pandemic," published in a special issue of the journal END ...
Wintertime outbreaks of COVID-19 have been largely driven by whether people adhere to control measures such as mask wearing and social distancing, according to a study published Feb. 8 in Nature Communications by Princeton University researchers. Climate and population immunity are playing smaller roles during the current pandemic phase of the virus, the researchers found.
The researchers -- working in summer 2020 -- ran simulations of a wintertime coronavirus outbreak in New York City to identify key factors that would allow the virus to proliferate. They found that relaxing control measures in the summer months led to an outbreak in the winter regardless of climate factors.
"Our results implied that lax control measures -- and likely ...
Ancient Amazonian communities fortified valuable land they had spent years making fertile to protect it from conflict, excavations show.
Farmers in Bolivia constructed wooden defences around previously nutrient-poor tropical soils they had enriched over generations to keep them safe during times of social unrest.
These long-term soil management strategies allowed Amazonians to grow nutrient demanding crops, such as maize and manioc and fruiting trees, and this was key to community subsistence. These Amazonian Dark Earths, or Terra Preta, were created through burning, mulching, and the deposition of organic waste.
It was known that some communities built ditches ...
An ecologist from RUDN University suggested a method to evaluate and reduce the effect of animal farms on climate change and developed a set of measures for small farms that provides for the complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Crop and animal farming and other agricultural activities account for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gases produced by humanity and therefore add a lot to climate change. On the other hand, the soils and biomass accumulate a lot of carbon, thus preventing it from getting into the atmosphere as a part of carbon dioxide and slowing climate change down. An ecologist from RUDN University suggested ...