The United States is nearing the point of having too much solar energy on the electric grid, a new report claims.
The report by the conservative Institute for Energy Research on "the diminishing value of solar power" found "solar photovoltaic (PV) energy contributes no additional capacity to the grid at a penetration level of 6 percent or beyond."
"Additional solar above the threshold is actively harmful to the ability of operators to maintain the capacity of the grid because it undermines the economics of those energy sources that must continue to provide the capacity to meet peak demand," the report stated.
The report also warns lawmakers against lobbying by the solar industry for subsidies to avoid the "looming value cliff."
"Policymakers should be wary of throwing good money after bad — of subsidizing a resource whose value is diminishing as additional capacity is added unless storage or some other advanced technology becomes economical," according to the report.
Solar panels generated 0.9 percent of U.S. electricity last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, though California generates so much solar power it sometimes pays other states to take power to stabilize the grid, the Los Angeles Times reported.
California gets about 14 percent of its electricity from solar panels, but it makes it vulnerable to inclement weather – and even the solar eclipse, The Daily Caller reported.
A lack of large-scale battery storage is a problem, however, the report stated.
"In the absence of effective storage capability, any subsidies, mandates or incentives for solar penetration above a 5-percent threshold are actively harmful to the reliability and economics of the power grid," the report found.
California users face some of the highest retail electricity rates in the country at around 15 cents per kilowatt hour, about 50 percent higher than the national average, The Daily Caller reported.
"At a certain point — and California seems to have reached it already — new solar PV does nothing to satisfy new peak net demand," the report stated.
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