"Even if regulators and legislators designed the perfect transition from regulated electricity to competition, the challenges of operating a profitable retail electricity business are immense. So far, in states with deregulated markets, no company has achieved sustainable gross
margins. Neither has any company demonstrated the ability to leverage electric commodity sales into high-margin, value-added services." ...
This article, in Electric Perspectives (May 16, 2002), examines the problems of retail electric power, and the value-added "myth". Tables and graphs include: residential, commercial and industrial interest in products and services, retail market expansion between 1998-2002; sample customer acquisition costs, an electricity retailing value chain, and list of retailers who left the retail market.
On the other hand, EPRI recently published the first part of a report entitled "Case Studies of Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems" in which they document a number of PV case studies covering a broad range of different systems and project types.
All PV system components today are typically UL listed and designed to meet the NEC code as well as several emerging standards to ensure safety. The report makes the following observations about the present state of the grid-connected PV systems:
* PV systems costs are decreasing, but they still are not cost-effective for most grid-connected uses. * People increasingly recognize PV's various values, including the less tangible ones. This recognition leads some to pay a premium for PV energy.
* PV manufacturers are boosting production to supply increasing demand, both domestic and foreign.
* there are no signifficant technical barriers to increasing PV use.
* a variety of strategies can successfully justify and fund PV projects.
PV systems produce "free" energy. It is clear that once a ZPE energy device at least as reliable as a PV system is available (demonstrated), the conclusions would be the same.