As utilities face looming disruption, there’s money to be made on both sides


The boom in solar panels on rooftops and ever cheaper batteries is a looming and disruptive issue for utilities across the U.S. The Rocky Mountain Institute recently published a report that said the combo of solar roofs and energy storage (like batteries) could enable sizable chunks of the U.S. to defect from the grid by 2030, leading to an erosion of customers and revenue for utilities.

Many see the transition similar to how the phone companies were disrupted by free internet calling tools like Skype. And like with that telecom trend, the transition in energy will create winners and losers that both are trying to compete directly with utilities and facilitate the disruption, and ones that are trying to create products that help utilities both survive and transition.


There are innovative and successful startups on both sides. SolarCity has been building a large businesses in signing up and financing as…

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