The Solar Energy Industries Association has reported that there are 600,000 solar systems currently in use in the United States. This number is projected to grow to over 3 millions in the next five years, and even sooner if we have any say in it! But as this number continues to grow, there appears to be some challenges on the system side of things.
Many of the currently installed infrastructures of city-wide grids are operating with significantly old equipment. This has not appeared to be an issue for a majority of cases but as solar increases, there are new issues being brought to light.
With these old systems, a vast majority are only set up to deliver power one way, to the consumer at a fairly consistent rate. However, with solar there is sometimes a surplus of energy that is then fed back into the system, which in the case of older cities is turning out to be a problem that their current grid struggles to rectify.
Another challenge that has been illuminated is that the systems are struggling to regulate the power they give off to consumers as it fluctuates. This fluctuation is due to things like night as well as inclement weather and seasons. The systems are not yet intelligent enough to anticipate and respond efficiently to some of these fluctuations. This doesn’t translate into a loss of power but is a waste of power.
These challenges are quickly being addressed as cities are implementing codes and regulations in order to manage this rapidly occurring change to solar. This is resulting in a stronger, more technically driven grid that is better equipped to deal with changes as they arise.
What other innovations and city-wide improvements will solar bring about?