In a recent article on solar energy, McKinsey put together an overview of solar power worldwide installations as well a fine tutorial on some of the key success factors behind large scale deployment.
The same article also suggests an obvious business model based on two different entities, a developer company strong on cash for operations and a holding company with strong debt and stable yield.
The obstacles plaguing both renewables and traditional utility companies today typically come in two distinct forms — technology transitions and major industry shifts — both with the end goal of better serving and connecting with customers.
Though both obstacles have their own unique challenges, the strategies to implementing and scaling change efforts to overcome each issue are largely the same.
One of the major concerns of governments worldwide is to guarantee the availability of energy supply, even if energy is an ubiquitous commodity at the distance of a click. So is sustainability, as the COP21 conference committed to a faster decarbonization.
The introduction of renewable sources in the countries energy mix prompted for relevant premium prices in power purchase agreements, namely for wind and photovoltaic parks. As expected, the technology evolution brought the wind energy overall costs (also known as LCOE or Levelized Cost Of Energy) to similar values of those of gas, coal or nuclear, allowing it to position as a competitive source of energy, wind allows it. On the same direction, photovoltaic electricity generation is also becoming affordable with an important twist: its price and scalability allow for consumers to produce their own energy. Add a storage battery and everyone gets its own electricity 24/7.
According to analyst firm Gartner, the number of internet-connected devices in the home will almost double each year up to 2018, by which time there will be almost 1.1 billion devices.
There is a huge opportunity for utilities to ride this IoT wave and deliver smart home technology and services to consumers.
While smart home technology has evolved rapidly over the past few years, there are still too many barriers to its wide-scale adoption, especially to interoperability and integration among different suppliers. This represents one of the opportunities for service providers and utilities: to provide a single hub and app, linking disparate connected home technologies together.
Source: Internet of things a smart opportunity for energy companies
Does it make sense to install solar panels on your roof?
You probably have no idea. But as of today, Google knows.
The colorful and recently alphabetized search monstrosity has launched a new tool called Project Sunroof. It will use data you may not have realized that Google even had to tell you how much money you can save by turning your roof into a photon harvester.
Using Google’s mapping and computing resources, Project Sunroof offers users personalized roof analyses to help them calculate the best solar plan based on their individual roofs and locations. Once supplied with a user’s address, the site provides user-specific data on the amount of usable sunlight that hits the roof per year, which parts of the house receive the most sunlight, the amount of space available on the home for solar panels, and the amount of money that could be saved by switching to solar.
Google Introduces Project Sunroof
Google’s Project Sunroof makes installing solar easier
A number of technologies are being developed to store energy on the grid, such as flow batteries which can accumulate energy in liquids and discharge rapidly. Giant flywheels and supercapacitors are also being explored.
Isentropic has developed several prototypes of pumped-heat electricity storage (PHES), a system based on a heat pump—a device like an air-conditioner that transfers heat from one place to another. In this case, though, the device is reversible, and when the heat flows back it works like a heat engine, converting thermal energy to mechanical power like a car engine.
The shale gas revolution has already had a transformative impact on the U.S. natural-gas market, on the countrys energy landscape broadly, and on a number of U.S. industries, most notably petrochemicals.
Its reach promises to expand considerably as development practices continue to improve and growing numbers of countries.
This e-book from the Boston Consulting Group examine the shale gas revolution through a number of lenses.
Distributed energy DE technologies have grown significantly in the U.S. Last year, DE represented one of the largest investments in the utilities space, and that investment, along with consequent growth, is likely to accelerate.
This growth will be disruptive to incumbent industries, especially utilities. Most U.S. electricity rates are variable, based on the number of kilowatt-hours used. DE reduces the number of kilowatt-hours sold by the utility to the customer.
This will cause disaggregation of the integrated value chain that has been served exclusively by utilities.
Distributed energy: Disrupting the utility business model
Distributed energy, or local energy production, may disrupt the traditional business model of utility companies.
Driven by the increase of energy costs, local production is becoming competitive and affordable, particularly through the use of photovoltaic cells.
This new imbalance is creating opportunities in:
- helping customers generate their own energy supply;
- managing end-user demand for energy;
- controlling the distribution and consumption of energy within a local network.
But there’s still plenty of room to innovate in Energy Efficiency related products and direct-current networks to power LED lighting and other electronic devices.