What is the LCOE of residential solar + battery in the face on increasingly complex utlity rate plans?

Alexander F. Routhier, Stuart G. Bowden, Stephen M. Goodnick, Christiana B. Honsberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Electric utility rate plans are becoming more complex, making it increasingly difficult to calculate the cost of electricity for residential users. This masks the costs and benefits of residential solar and solar + batteries and sends incorrect price signals to consumers. To our knowledge, the impacts of the costs of complex rate plans on the LCOE of solar and batteries for residential consumers has not been calculated and presented. This paper calculates the LCOE for combinations of solar and batteries, including no solar and/or batteries, examining the impact of effects such as time of use and demand charges.The key results are that more complex rate plans show little economic benefit for solar and battery users and continue to exacerbate the problems (commonly referred to as the "duck curve") which is often given as the main roadblock to renewable expansion. These results are primarily due to electricity charges not directly related to overall energy use. There is an increasing component of fixed charges (either solar-related or applicable to all users), such that reducing the electricity usage from the grid with lower-cost solar electricity does not substantially reduce overall LCOE. These fixed charges also substantially increase the LCOE for smaller electrical loads, in some cases nearly doubling it. The second type of electricity charge giving high rates is a demand charge. For demand charges, eliminating every peak is not feasible, such that the charges from the utility are essentially constant. In addition to discouraging the use of solar, these plans negatively impact the utility, as batteries in residential systems have a beneficial impact on both consumers and utilities, enabling reductions in electricity use during early evening by more than 80%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 IEEE 48th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781665419222
StatePublished - Jun 20 2021
Event48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2021 - Fort Lauderdale, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2021Jun 25 2021

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Conference48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFort Lauderdale


  • solar LCOE
  • solar integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'What is the LCOE of residential solar + battery in the face on increasingly complex utlity rate plans?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this