Power plants in California, Germany and Australia – places which have significant solar installations – are already starting to feel the effects, it said.
Because solar generates electricity during the day, it reduces peak power demand from non-renewable sources as adoption increases, Bernstein noted. “Demand during what was one of the most profitable times of the day disappears,” it said.
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In addition, rooftop solar installations reduce the amount of electricity purchased from distribution utilities, it noted.
Bernstein isn’t alone in viewing solar power as a potential disruptor, especially as costs continue to fall.
“Cost reductions will put solar within striking distance, in economic terms, of new construction for traditional power-generation technologies, such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy,” McKinsey Co. said in a report earlier this month.
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“Depending on the market, new solar installations could now account for up to half of new consumption,” it said, noting that more than 20 percent of newly-installed capacity in the U.S. was solar during the first ten months of 2013.
McKinsey noted businesses in the U.S. are already catching on to solar’s potential.
“A number of companies with large physical footprints and high power costs are installing commercial-scale rooftop solar systems, often at less than the current price of buying power from a utility,” it said.