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The deployment of solar technologies will not only reduce generation from other power sources; it will also lessen the amount of new generating capacity that must be built to replace old generating units that are retired and to satisfy load growth. Estimating the amount of new capacity displaced by solar technologies is a complex process that involves an analysis of technology characterization, location/orientation, meteorological conditions, load profiles, the transmission system topology and the existing inventory of power generators in the system.

Like any electricity generating technology, solar technologies come with a price tag including capital costs, operating and maintenance expenses and grid integration costs. Solar technologies will affect the market price of electricity and consumer electricity bills. In addition to economic and financial costs, there are also environmental cost associated with the production of solar equipment, technology deployment, and land issues. Therefore, it is important that systemic analyses be performed to estimate both the positive and negative consequences of solar energy as it relates to alternative grid development pathways.

Argonne staff have decades of experience in both developing and applying numerous operational, economic, and financial tools to solve diverse energy and environmental systems problems. Using analysis techniques that link process together in a systemic framework, Argonne staff use modeling tools to uncover potential consequences that are beyond our current conceptualization of the problem, unravel complexities and reveal system interactions that would otherwise not have been discovered.