Traditional transmission and distribution utilities will have to deal with distributed solar power, and it won’t be a pretty fight, according to David Crane, president and chief executive of NRG Energy NRG +0.49%, a large independent power producer.
Utilities “do realize that distributed solar is a mortal threat to their business,” said Mr. Crane, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference on Thursday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
“They can’t cut costs, so they will try to distribute costs over fewer and fewer customers.” This, he said, will increase costs for the customers, and will drive more of them toward distributed solar.
NRG Energy itself has been developing numerous solar projects, most of them large utility-scale installations. The company acquired a distributed-solar project developer in 2011.
Mr. Crane said that solar on rooftops and throughout communities makes sense because it allows the company to compete with high retail prices of electricity. “We can undercut those prices,” he said.
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