- Peak demand is during the middle of the business day when companies run at full capacity. Utilities have to work overtime in order to supply enough electricity to all of their customers.
- Low demand is in the middle of the night (historically around 4 AM). Everyone’s asleep and power companies can rest a little easier.
However, this trend is changing rapidly across the country. In our state, for example, peak demand is no longer around noon. In fact, the middle of the day is when Californians use theleast amount of utility electricity.
But why is this happening?
Utilities Competing with California Solar Power Installations
The reason why peak demand times have changed is because Californians are increasingly relying on distributed renewable energy. This is especially true of solar power – an energy source that only works during the day – and works best when the sun is at its strongest (i.e. noon).
This solar electricity gets used on the spot (by the system owner). And any excess electricity gets fed into the power grid via a process known as net metering.
And keep in mind that there is a lot of excess electricity.
Just think about all of the residential solar installations on homes that remain empty during most of the day when folks are at work. The majority of that clean power goes into the grid and gets redirected to other customers.
In fact, there is so much extra power that utilities are constantly scrambling to balance their own output with this solar energy revolution. Our state actually receives 15% of its daytime electricity from the sun.
Some utilities are even trying to slow down solar’s growth because they can’t handle all of this additional strain on the electricity grid. They’ve tried everything from removing incentives to attaching penalties.
But the best solution is to invest in better clean energy storage. With solar batteries, we can store excess electricity when it isn’t needed – and then retrieve that power later on.
Thankfully, this is already happening:
- Some utilities have begun investing in large-scale storage solutions that rely on green power.
- Residential and commercial solar storage options are becoming cheaper thanks to the rise of affordable EV batteries.
Once solar panels and batteries become standard throughout California, “peak demand” will become an obsolete concept. Utilities won’t have to scramble to supply customers with power. And customers won’t have to worry about time-of-use electricity rates.
Some Californians have already begun living this dream. Their PV panels generate so much clean electricity that they never even bother looking at their utility bills, since each statement is $0.
To learn how we can help you do the same, contact us today for a free consultation.