The loss of masses of customers due to the combination of solar and energy storage is a “vague and distant” scenario for conventional utilities, Moody’s Investors Service concludes in a recent market assessment.
“As solar and batteries become cheaper while electricity rates rise, economic models suggest that millions of consumers could decide to sever ties with their utility and go completely off-grid,” Greentech reports. “Under such a scenario, leading utilities could lose millions of customers and investors could lose billions of dollars.”
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But Moody’s isn’t sold on the risk. “We do not foresee grid defection being a material risk to the utility sector because the barriers are currently too great and the probability of an abrupt and unexpected development is too remote,” according to the team of five analysts behind the report.
“The Moody’s analysts may be overestimating how many batteries households will need to leave the grid,” Lacey writes. “But much lower battery costs still probably wouldn’t be enough to cause grid defection. That’s because people are far too dependent on the electric system—which itself is a giant battery.”