As the Heat Rises, Solar Drives Northeast Grid Savings
SunCommon report shows $30MM reduction in energy costs during heat wave.
A third-party analysis, released by SunCommon, demonstrates how the solar energy produced by a relatively small number of homes and businesses benefits all electric ratepayers. New England and New York wholesale costs were decreased by 14% and 6% respectively, totalling $30 million dollars, when temperatures soared across the region in the July heat wave. The report cites as much as $6.7 million in savings on just one day of the July heatwave, as solar systems across the region helped meet its elevated energy needs. Future heat waves could drive even higher electric demand that will be similarly tempered by the region’s solar power.
“We’ve always known that solar contributes in a big way to our region’s energy needs on long, hot, sunny summer days. We wanted to put numbers to it,” said James Moore, one of SunCommon’s co-founders. “$30 million in savings in one week is impressive! The amount of solar produced was the equivalent of removing 1.37 million homes from the grid.”
SunCommon hired Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., a research and consulting firm, to analyze the financial impact of solar to the New York and New England electric grid between July 1 and July 7. In the midst of a heatwave, solar systems produce huge amounts of power during the same hours that energy prices soar.
“Solar power is the perfect match for heat waves. During a heat wave, energy demand goes through the roof and so do energy costs. The power that solar produces allows our utilities to buy less of the most expensive – and often the dirtiest – energy,” explained Patrick Knight of Synapse Energy Economics.
“I love checking my solar monitoring on these long, sunny days,” said Ryan Dudley, a SunCommon solar customer and middle-school teacher. “Knowing that my solar system produces enough power to keep up with our needs, and sends extra savings to my neighbors and community is even more satisfying. I feel like I’m doing my part.”
The Synapse-authored analysis reports localized energy savings that strongly reflect the penetration of solar in each New England state and New York county.
- Massachusetts boasts half of New England’s solar capacity and contributed $9.3 million in savings from solar during the period analyzed.
- Vermont, the smallest of the New England states by population, hosts 17% of its solar capacity and contributed $1.3 million in savings.
- The Hudson Valley hosts nearly 15% of New York’s solar fleet, which produced $900,000 in savings during the week studied.
- New York City similarly hosts about 15% of New York’s solar, but because of the higher energy demand in the city, solar contributed $3.1 million in savings to the NYC energy system.
“Every home and business-owner who’s made the decision to go solar should know that they did more than just make the right decision for the planet. Their solar systems are contributing significant energy savings across our region on hot, summer days,” said James Moore, SunCommon co-founder. “As the climate warms, and heat waves become more frequent, our solar systems will only do more to temper energy costs.”