EME 444
Global Energy Enterprise

Distributed Generation


In any case, when electricity is generated at or near where it is going to be used (the “load center”), this is called distributed generation. Solar and wind are both widely used for distributed generation, but so are non-renewable sources such as diesel generators. The U.S. EPA defines distributed generation as "a variety of technologies that generate electricity at or near where it will be used, such as solar panels and combined heat and power."

Benefits and Costs of Pv.  See link in caption for text version
Figure 9.2: Benefits & Cost Categories for solar distributed generation value analysis.
Click link to expand for a text description of Figure 9.2

Text Version of the Benefit and Cost Categories Diagram

The diagram looks like a bulls eye with “Grid Services” in the middle.  Going outwards, the rings are “Financial”, “Security”, “Environmental”, and “Social”.  Each of the categories have text associated with them. 

Grid Services

  • Energy
    • energy
    • system losses
  • Capacity
    • generation capacity
    • transmission & distribution capacity
    • DPV installed capacity
  • Grid Support Services
    • reactive supply & voltage control
    • regulation & frequency response
    • energy & generator imbalance
    • synchronized & supplemental operating reserves
    • scheduling, forecasting, and system control & dispatch

Financial Risk

  • fuel price hedge
  • market price response

Security Risk

  • reliability & resilience


  • carbon emissions (CO2)
  • criteria air pollutants (SO2, NOx, PM)
  • water
  • land


  • economic development (jobs and tax revenues)
Credit: Rocky Mountain Institute, "A Review of Solar PV Benefits & Cost Subsidies."


To Read Now

Visit the Rocky Mountain Institute and download A Review of Solar PV Benefit and Cost Studies. (If you have time, explore the site and learn more about RMI. Great organization!) Scan the document to the extent you find interesting and useful.  (If you are having difficulties accessing it, a .pdf is also available.)
  • Look closely at the Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) illustration and comments on page 8.
  • Review closely Stakeholder Perspectives on page 19.