Analytics Lead, Form Energy, & Research Affiliate/Lecturer MIT Center for Environmental Policy Research

Scott Burger

Interviewer: David Spence, Interview date: October 2, 2019

 

How to Value Distributed Energy Resources

by Scott Burger

“We simulated rooftop solar adoption across single family homes [in] the Chicago, Illinois area. Adopters of rooftop solar saw their expenditures decrease; non-adopters of rooftop solar saw their expenditures increase. Because adopters are (on average) wealthier than non-adopters, this led to a dynamic where expenditures by low income customers were rising pretty significantly.”

 “These community solar programs are really great programs. … But it doesn’t solve the underlying cost shift problem. … There are some low income customers that adopt solar. … There is not only a cost shift that’s happening from high income adopters to low income non-adopter customer. There is also a cost shift from solar adopters to non-adopters within the same income quintile.  So what these programs might end up doing is exacerbating the problem for low income people are not lucky enough to get access to those programs.”

“Ideally we would put central solar and distributed solar on a more level playing field. … The reason that it’s important to think about whether we are paying too much for distributed solar is that decarbonization is a marathon, not a sprint. … If we are overspending, we are just making our job harder. … If we are making electricity more expensive than it needs to be, we are making the job much harder.”

Scott Burger is Analytics Lead at Form Energy and a Research Affiliate and Lecture at MIT’s Center for Environmental Policy Research.

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