(UR) United States — Corporate need for solar energy is skyrocketing. Will we have enough of this sun-created, green power to meet the rising demand? In some states, we’re already creating ‘too much’ power.

Currently, renewable energy in the U.S. — including wind, hydropower, biomass, and, yes, solar — only account for10 percent of all energy used and 13 percent of the total energy our country generates. This could be changing, though.

Too many mega-companies need sustainable energy, not only to remain in high esteem with stockholders, but also due to growing, grassroots demand for corporations to stop using fossil fuels. Activists on six different continents recently acted in peaceful demonstrations to further a worldwide breakup with oil, gas, and other dangerous fossil fuels. It seems there’s a monetary incentive as well.

Demand for Solar Power Is Booming

Contracts for renewable energies in the U.S. tripled from 2014 to 2015, and demand is expected to grow at a fast clip into the year 2020. With a growth rate of over 60 percent in many states, solar energy creation doesn’t show signs of slowing — but it still might not be able to meet the demand for sustainable energy fast enough.

The bottleneck is in supply, not demand.

The current infrastructure, namely the power grid, which we are all used to being tied to via our homes and businesses, cannot necessarily support the appetite for ever-more gigawatts — but that’s where novel, off-the-grid solar providers could excel.

Big companies like Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft have already been participating in changing the way we use energy. As members of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, known as REBA, these and other companies hope to enjoy the break down of barriers to lower-carbon energy. The alliance aims to see 60 gigawatts — the same amount of total generating capacity of Turkey — in renewable energy deployed in the U.S. by 2025.

Supply and Demand Turned Upside Down

In the case of solar, as well as with other renewables, the normal supply and demand can be turned upside down. States like California have already experienced the ‘problem’ of creating too much energy. They’ve created so much energy on some days, that solar farms have been asked to ‘turn themselves off.’ When there is more power on the grid than people are using, what do you do?

You either go off grid, or stop charging for power.

As more states run into this issue, they could sell the power they generate to neighboring states, and eventually offer solar energy for free to all citizens.

As more advanced methods of storing solar energy are developed, including home battery storage, the need to get an electric bill from the utility company will soon become passé. The grid is antiquated and crumbling, anyhow.

Fossil Fuels Are Becoming Defunct

Corporations are one of the fastest growing customers for renewable energy, in part because renewables are an important hedge against price variability in fossil fuels. Solar is also becoming increasingly competitive with gas, coal, and even nuclear energy.

New records were just set for cheap solar, when developers successfully bid 2.99 cents per kilowatt-hour to develop 800 megawatts of solar-power projects for the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. China also just committed millions to improving the efficiency of solar panels, hoping to offer solar at dirt-cheap prices. At this rate, corporations would have to be insane not to want solar power.

Now, if we can just keep regulators from asking excess solar power generators like those in California to stop turning off their juice, we’ll really be in business.


This article (As Demand for Solar Power Skyrockets, Corporations Take Up the Slack) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Sarah Swenty/USFWS