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May 12, 2022

New England sets record for lowest demand on electricity grid as solar adoption increases

ISO New England

The New England power grid saw the lowest demand ever on May 1, as mild temperatures and sunny skies hit the region, according to ISO New England. Afternoon temperatures were in the 50s and 60s across New England.

Consumer demand for electricity from the grid dropped to 7,580 megawatts in the afternoon hours. It was the lowest mark seen since ISO New England began operating the system in 1997.

Sundays typically see lower electricity demand than other days of the week. 

The May 1 record is a “continuation of a trend seen across New England as rooftop solar installations have become more popular,” according to the grid operator.

Typically, grid demand decreases at night. However, “behind-the-meter” rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses can further temper demand, resulting in “duck-curve” days, in which energy demand is lowest in the afternoon.

The region has already seen nearly as many  “duck curve” days in 2022 as in all previous years combined, according to ISO New England.

These trends are expected to accelerate over the coming years as behind-the-meter solar continues to grow in New England, according to ISO’s recently-released 10-year solar forecast.

However, on Tuesday, ISO New England projected that the region’s annual net electricity use will increase by about 14% over the next decade as the heating and transportation sectors go electric. The findings were published in the 2022-31 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads and Transmission.

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