What is “distributed” energy?

Energy resources come in many shapes and sizes. In the past, we relied on large, centralized power sources such as coal, nuclear and gas. As we transition to renewables, we will continue to need large sources such as utility-scale solar and offshore wind. But we will also need a significant amount of solar distributed across the electric grid on rooftops and canopies. Such “distributed” resources don’t replace large, utility-scale ones; they supplement them and, especially when paired with battery storage, improve the overall performance of the grid.

Benefits of Local Solar

  • Economic Opportunity: Enables small and large businesses to lower their electric costs and earn revenue by generating electricity on their roof and parking lot.
  • Jobs: Local solar projects create local jobs and boost the local economy both directly and indirectly.
  • Meet our Clean Energy Goals: Commercial and community solar can play a significant role in meeting the state’s clean energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. Without them, we will be forced to rely on centralized, grid-scale arrays, many of them from out-of-state, and on extending Millstone nuclear.
  • Equity: Commercial and community solar directly benefit underserved and vulnerable populations through lower energy costs and economic development.
  • More resilient, lower cost grid: Commercial and community solar are both “distributed” energy resources and make the electric grid more resilient, equitable and less costly.

Resources About Local Solar

CT Energy Network webinar featuring Karl Rabago, Kaitlin Kelly O’Neill, and Nathan Phelps

Why Local Solar for All Costs Less

A Study from Vibrant Clean Energy on the Value of Distributed Energy Resources

Why Local Solar For All Costs Less: A  New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid

A 27 minute Volts podcast episode with accompanying article

Rooftop solar and home batteries make a clean grid vastly more affordable – Distributed energy is not an alternative to big power plants, but a complement

Karl Rabago, one of the study authors, speaks about the study

The critical role of local solar in achieving 80% clean electricity by 2030

Article about the results of applying the VCE model specifically to the state of New York.

Expanding Local Clean Energy Could Save New York $28 Billion by 2050