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“Modes of Electricity Generation, Delivery Systems, and the Role of Trust in Creating Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Markets,” by Jack Fuller and Steven Richmond

“Modes of Electricity Generation, Delivery Systems, and the Role of Trust in Creating Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Markets,” by Jack Fuller and Steven Richmond

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Fossil fuel-burning power plants have been a central feature of electricity delivery systems since their inception. This highly centralized and top-down method of producing electric power for consumption is extremely effective. However, recent political and social trends have called for the increased use of alternative and renewable energy sources to mitigate the harmful effects that burning fossil fuels has on the environment. Energy portfolio standards (EPS) policies have mandated that utilities produce a percentage of their electricity using clean technologies. These mandates will have a profound effect on traditional power delivery systems. Some technologies have been adopted rather easily while solar photovoltaic (PV) installations continue to remain largely underutilized. This paper will make the case that solar PV installations simply do not fit into the traditional power delivery system. They require that consumers also become producers in the electricity market, creating a decentralized power network which completely changes the traditional relationship between customers and utilities. When consumers become part producers, they begin to think like the management team of a business. They must be certain that their investments will have positive returns. The current regulatory and legal structure does not address the needs of the consumer-producer hybrid. This will have to change in order to create trust in the solar PV market and attract potential investors. (This article was published in the Journal of Energy and Development as Jack Fuller and Steven Richmond, “Modes of Electricity Generation, Delivery Systems, and the Role of Trust in Creating Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Markets,” The Journal of Energy and Development, volume 38, number 2 (spring 2013, copyright 2013), pp. 147–156.)
Fossil fuel-burning power plants have been a central feature of electricity delivery systems since their inception. This highly centralized and top-down method of producing electric power for consumption is extremely effective. However, recent political and social trends have called for the increased use of alternative and renewable energy sources to mitigate the harmful effects that burning fossil fuels has on the environment. Energy portfolio standards (EPS) policies have mandated that utilities produce a percentage of their electricity using clean technologies. These mandates will have a profound effect on traditional power delivery systems. Some technologies have been adopted rather easily while solar photovoltaic (PV) installations continue to remain largely underutilized. This paper will make the case that solar PV installations simply do not fit into the traditional power delivery system. They require that consumers also become producers in the electricity market, creating a decentralized power network which completely changes the traditional relationship between customers and utilities. When consumers become part producers, they begin to think like the management team of a business. They must be certain that their investments will have positive returns. The current regulatory and legal structure does not address the needs of the consumer-producer hybrid. This will have to change in order to create trust in the solar PV market and attract potential investors. (This article was published in the Journal of Energy and Development as Jack Fuller and Steven Richmond, “Modes of Electricity Generation, Delivery Systems, and the Role of Trust in Creating Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Markets,” The Journal of Energy and Development, volume 38, number 2 (spring 2013, copyright 2013), pp. 147–156.)

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05/20/2014

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