In an era where sustainability and environmental consciousness take center stage, the transition to cleaner and more efficient energy sources is not just a choice but a necessity. The use of grid-connected solar systems, has been gaining popularity for its potential to free individuals from the burden of their electric bills; however, a disturbing trend is emerging, the utility companies are increasingly tightening their grip on access to this empowering technology. The need for urgent action on grid modernization is more evident than ever, and it requires a collaborative effort from utilities and all levels of government., a pioneer in advocating for cleaner, reliable energy solutions, has been tirelessly working towards a future where individuals can break free from the clutches of dirty and hazardous energy sources. Unfortunately, the path to energy independence is under threat as utility companies close the doors on grid-connected solar systems. This poses a direct challenge to property owners and aspiring homeowners who dream of eliminating their electric bills through the utilization of solar energy.

The current grid deficiencies exacerbate the issue, creating barriers and delays that hinder the widespread adoption of solar power. Utility-level impact assessments for deploying solar systems are plagued with prolonged delays, and homeowners are increasingly burdened with grid modernization expenses including purchasing their own public use transformers (+$8,000 a pop). These challenges collectively raise the cost of achieving energy independence, pushing it out of reach for a significant portion of the population.

To address these challenges head-on, it is crucial for utilities, local governments, and federal agencies to prioritize and expedite grid modernization efforts. The grid must undergo a transformative overhaul to accommodate the increasing demand for renewable energy sources, such as solar power. Investments in smart grid technologies, energy storage solutions, and improved infrastructure are imperative to create a robust and resilient energy network. in partnership with MSSIA proposes a set of grid modernization recommendations aimed at overcoming the existing deficiencies and embracing advances in technologies. These recommendations encompass a comprehensive approach, including:

  • Utilize Batteries Connected to PV Systems:
    • Batteries connected to PV systems can provide power smoothing services, preserving a stable and resilient grid. Current interconnect regulations should be revised to allow batteries to increase the hosting capacity of distribution circuits, aligning with the goals of the Clean Energy Act.
  • Utilize Predictive Services for PV Systems:
    • Harness highly granular satellite weather data for accurate, short-term forecasting of changes in PV power systems' output. This can facilitate gradual ramp-down of PV systems to prevent harmful voltage fluctuations, enhancing the predictability and stability of the grid. PJM already uses this technology for large solar systems.
  • Allow Reverse Flow through Substations:
    • Substations can be modified to handle reverse flow, allowing solar power to momentarily exceed the load on the substation and flow back into the sub-transmission or transmission system. Minor changes to the control system can significantly increase the amount of solar power connected to the substation.
  • Use the Reactive Power Capabilities of Solar Inverters:
    • Leverage the built-in capabilities of modern solar inverters to provide controllable reactive power services. This can stabilize voltage and address distribution system issues unrelated to solar power, enhancing the overall efficiency of the grid.
  • Curtailment Measures:
    • Acknowledge curtailment as a short-term necessity, particularly in light of increased interconnection denials. Introduce measures for curtailment with compensation to keep circuits open and potentially reopen closed ones, ensuring a smoother transition to renewable energy sources.