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Utilities and distributed solar: Go bold (and smart) or go home


This ICF white paper examines the growth of distributed solar photovoltaic (DPV) programs, and outlines investment options that utilities can implement, that often provide unique value to customers in their markets to adopt a smart and strategic solar plan. 

Distributed solar economics have improved so dramatically that upcoming incentive declines (e.g., Federal Investment Tax Credit step-down) will only temporarily slow deployment. Utilities in the majority of U.S. markets should expect a major, inescapable medium-to-long-term role for distributed solar. Big threats and opportunities are ahead: Utilities may lose new load growth revenue to solar migration (along with a growing segment of their customers) or could aggressively insert themselves into the solar equation to deliver valuable and valued new products and services. Utilities are rapidly adapting their business models: The second quarter of 2015 saw 87 important new distributed solar policy, program, or regulatory actions. Utility-led solar initiatives across multiple customer classes now total hundreds of megawatts in capacity.

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