The U.S. is expected to deploy 77.3 GW of distributed renewables between this year and 2025, with the majority of the capacity driven by solar installations, according to a new report from Navigant Research.
The report says distributed solar installations will total almost 75.8 GW during the period, and cumulative capacity is projected to be evenly split between residential (49%) and commercial (51%) customers.
Distributed renewables technologies, which also include wind power and biogas, have unique characteristics that can act as generation and/or load control on the grid; however, the report says they each represent a dynamic resource that is challenging the industry’s prevailing business models and operating procedures. During the last decade, improvements in regulatory policies and technology cost reductions have accelerated distributed renewables deployments in the U.S.
“The deployment of distributed renewables in the U.S. is heavily concentrated in a few states, and the top 10 markets are expected to deploy 89 percent of new capacity,” says Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “As distributed renewables continue to evolve from their identity as fringe generation resources to become the workhorse of the power sector, it is important that all electricity sector stakeholders execute a new strategy around renewables in order to remain relevant.”
In addition to utility strategy, policies affect the deployment of distributed renewables in the U.S., according to the report. Tax credits that help reduce the upfront cost of the investment and renewables mandates that increase the value of the electricity produced by renewable sources will likely be phased out, while policies like net metering may be altered to ensure that they reflect the true value of distributed renewables, the report adds.