Utilities vs. ConsumersNovember 11, 2015 at 10:00am
Utilities vs. Consumers...and the winner is?!
You've heard it before; “that's a good problem to have”. But is there really such a thing as a “Good” problem?
So, here's the deal. Utility companies around the world are working diligently to not only employ alternative and clean energy solutions, but many are doing so in a race to surpass their current fossil fuel and nuclear based power generation facilities within the next 15 years. Sounds like a “good” problem, right? Not so fast.
While production is up, it's being largely consumed by these medium and large-scale utility companies. And while we clap and cheer that it is a move in the right direction, it has created another problem. The clean energy movement started with individuals, and so did the idea that your average homeowner could create enough power through primarily solar energy to run his or her home to the point they could ultimately detach from the ominous “grid” run by the utilities. Hmm. Let's think about that one for a second. So, as a homeowner, you decide to go green and invest in a solar power solution for your home with hopes of one day being self-sufficient, leaving the grid in a fit of rebellion against carbon footprints, fossil fuel-based electricity. You become a beacon for change. Yet the very utility company that you are yelling “Viva Revolution!” at (quietly under your breath while you still need them anyway) is quite possibly beating you to the punch with the economically friendly, green is good for the environment type of electricity? Yep.
Consider for a moment some interesting statistics; Sunrun (A solar company in the United States specializing in homeowner-based solar power solutions) just surpassed 100,000 customers, and they now collectively generate 1.3 terawatts of power. Conversely, the US utility companies produce 18 billion kWh.
While this fight rages on, manufacturers are working harder than ever to keep up with the demand for photovoltaic cells. You know, those big, flat dark panels on your neighbor's roof. And yes, those are the same panels following the sun in those large solar farms that the utility companies own.
So, this is still a “good” problem, right? Wrong. Here's what's going on in manufacturing. There's a buzzword in this industry “CleanTech”. This refers to technology that is manufactured using environmentally friendly products, minimizing their carbon footprint, energy consumption, and producing little or no hazardous waste. You'd think manufacturers of clean energy products would, well, use CleanTech principals. Oh how we wish it was true. But in the rush to meet the demand, these very manufacturers are sometimes found to be using old, non-efficient, non-environmentally friendly materials that create hazardous waste. The good news is there are companies in this race that actually support the CleanTech initiative. UDM Systems has developed GREEN certified solutions used in the production of photovoltaic cells, which also produce no hazardous waste. These manufacturing solutions are environmentally friendly, and cause no impact to the environment.
While the fight between the utility companies and the homeowner wage on, so does the fight to produce the technology to support clean energy with CleanTech products. In this fight behind the scenes, UDM Systems leads the way.