Commercial businesses using more solarA new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that the utility industry should expect to see some big changes over the coming decades as renewable energy sources make up a larger part of the electricity flowing along the grid.

The power landscape within the country is rapidly changing as clean and sustainable energy generation takes on a larger role in the nation’s electricity supplies. These power sources are growing less expensive and more commercially viable – operating at higher efficiencies and providing more energy. As a result, many power providers have been integrating them into their energy mixes to provide cleaner electricity service for their customers.

Distributed energy changing industry
These forms of generation operate differently than those of power plants. In the latter case, large amounts of electricity are produced in a single location and distributed over long distances, while energy distribution is much more localized in the former.

Because of renewables growing popularity, many utility executives anticipate that their business models are likely to change in the coming months. GreenTech Media explains that a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that 94 percent of those surveyed expect to see some important changes or entire transformations within the industry through to 2030.

In North America, this figure is slightly smaller, at about 90 percent, but still indicates that an overwhelming majority of people feel that times are changing. Energy-efficient technologies were the most highly regarded developments among those surveyed, with 60 percent believing that these advances will have a high or very high impact on their market. The next highest development was the rapidly decreasing price of modules, at 56 percent.

Commercial businesses using more solar
In North America, 91 percent of executives expect to see a mixture or majority of distributed generation in their market. The news source explains that this could be due to the fact that rooftop photovoltaic installations have grown increasingly common as of late.

According to findings from the Solar Energy Industry Association, many of the country’s largest commercial operations, like Wal-Mart and Apple, have deployed large amounts of solar panels to power their businesses.

In total, the top 25 companies in the country have installed 445 megawatts of electric capacity, marking a nearly 50 percent increase from last year. Wal-Mart was the biggest installer, with 89 megawatts installed, followed by Costco with 47 MW. Other notable companies include Apple with 41 MW and Macy’s with 21 MW.

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