Solar panels have come down in price rather dramatically in the last decade and if this trend continues it can be the death of old-school electric utilities. That is, unless the energy companies embrace solar and embed it into their system. Smart companies see the writing on the wall and others will start to falter.
So even though solar provides just 0.4 percent of America’s electricity, it’s growing at a shocking rate. Rooftop solar generationÂ has roughly tripledÂ since 2010. By some estimates, a new solar system is installedÂ every four minutesÂ in the United States.
To electric utilities, this poses a dilemma. AsÂ rooftop solar becomes more popular, people will buy less and less electricity from their local power company. But utilities still have plenty of fixed costs for things like maintaining the grid. So, in response, those utilities will eventually have to raise rates on everyone else. Trouble is, thoseÂ higher electricity rates could spur evenÂ moreÂ people to install their own solar rooftop panels to save money. Cue the death spiral.