A Treasure Trove For Rural & Business-Scale Photo voltaic Initiatives


Publications From 8 Groups Seize Insights for Communities Searching for To Harness Resiliency and Financial Advantages of Photo voltaic Power

It takes grace and dexterity to handle the coverage and technical challenges of adopting renewable power whereas additionally addressing catastrophe preparedness—bringing various stakeholders to the desk on the identical time. Eight groups within the second spherical of the Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community (SEIN) tackled these challenges and extra, offering a blueprint for different communities pursuing tasks centered on solar-plus-storage, the resilience advantages of photo voltaic, and the worth of photo voltaic in electrical distribution methods.

Groups From Throughout United States Publish Suggestions for New Methods of Adopting Photo voltaic

SEIN connects groups of stakeholders which are pioneering new concepts with the assets they should overcome obstacles to photo voltaic adoption. Groups collaborated in two separate cohorts on this second spherical, collectively publishing 22 assets. Every cohort was shaped round a theme: photo voltaic in commercial-scale settings or in rural communities. Groups collaborated throughout and inside cohorts to develop their concepts in real-world contexts, yielding outcomes that may unlock tomorrow’s photo voltaic markets. The result’s blueprints, analyses, instruments, and tip sheets for others dealing with related circumstances. These assets are freely obtainable for obtain: Learn under for particular examples.

This current set of publications wraps up this system’s second spherical, which lasted 15 months. All through that point, groups obtained analytical assist from the Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (LBNL) and facilitation assist from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), together with direct funding from the U.S. Division of Power Photo voltaic Power Applied sciences Workplace, to beat obstacles to adopting photo voltaic power. Throughout workshops, the groups labored intently to determine challenges, formulate and check potential options, and validate new fashions alongside technical advisors from NREL analysis workers.

“NREL lent their experience and their ardour for innovation and power fairness to our various, multi-stakeholder workforce and helped us to check technical approaches and a scope of impression that went effectively past our preliminary undertaking temporary,” mentioned SEIN participant and Groundswell CEO Michelle Moore.

An infographic reveals that 166 individuals attended the Spherical 2 symposium, 22 publications had been printed within the spherical, and 82 organizations participated.

Extreme Climate, Rural Power Co-Ops, and Photo voltaic for Renters Pose A number of the Complexities Groups Addressed

From the dense city panorama of New York Metropolis to the intricate coverage panorama of native electrical co-ops, the groups on this spherical lined an eclectic number of places with a various set of challenges.

Within the commercial-scale photo voltaic cohort, for example, the workforce led by Sustainable CUNY (Metropolis College of New York) defined of their undertaking street map that “City areas like NYC, which have a big inhabitants of renters, are significantly effectively suited” for group photo voltaic tasks that supply renewable power on a subscription foundation, however these “tasks have stalled on the doorstep of many cities,” partially as a result of stakeholders lack financial knowledge to assist selections. Via the Innovation Community, Sustainable CUNY partnered with key stakeholders, together with the Actual Property Board of New York (REBNY), to research group photo voltaic and group solar-plus-storage choices, creating instruments and assets to supply landowners eager about group photo voltaic the assist to maneuver ahead.

The Clear Sky Tampa Bay workforce additionally addressed coverage challenges of their Venture and Toolkit Overview, with the added layer of extreme climate: “Latest pure disasters … have strengthened the necessity for dependable energy to maintain important companies and important amenities inside communities,” they wrote, however siting such amenities could be a robust hurdle. The workforce developed pointers to assist deal with such challenges of their Choice Assist toolkit and inside detailed county use circumstances (for instance, Pinellas County and Hillsborough County, amongst others).

The Clear Sky Tampa Bay workforce labored with the Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community (SEIN) on siting for photo voltaic for extreme climate circumstances. Photograph from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

Within the rural cohort, the Photo voltaic-Plus for Electrical Cooperatives (SPECs) workforce (representing power co-ops from Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, and North Carolina) launched an early-stage resolution mannequin to assist co-ops consider potential solar-plus-storage tasks. Their SPECs device addresses the modernization and renewable power growth challenges of serving electrical energy wants throughout a largely rural panorama, together with a lot of the nation’s persistently impoverished counties.

Better Fairness: A Frequent Objective Amongst Different Group Advantages

Groups aimed for larger fairness and group enter as central themes in these tasks. For instance, the workforce in Massachusetts sought planning and financing mechanisms to maintain photo voltaic advantages inside the small communities that usually host giant photo voltaic arrays. Their step-by-step Group Planning for Photo voltaic Toolkit encourages any group seeking to undertake photo voltaic power to determine a large set of stakeholders, together with non-public residents, in order that the group photo voltaic plan actually addresses the wants of the group.

Likewise, the Breaking Obstacles undertaking workforce labored with energy-overburdened neighborhoods surrounding West Atlanta’s traditionally Black faculties and universities (HBCUs) to handle the group’s crucial wants within the face of grid failure. NREL offered an in depth power evaluation that was used to develop the workforce’s decision-making course of. Breaking Obstacles shares that course of — together with the school curriculum they developed and the supplies they shared with the group — inside their report.

And within the rural communities cohort, the workforce led by the College of Minnesota with the East River Electrical Energy Cooperative examined organizational fashions to find out which might extra equitably create advantages which are extra aligned to a co-op’s values. They developed an analytic mannequin that traces the financial worth flows of latest photo voltaic PV tasks throughout the tiers of a cooperative system.

The equitable adoption of photo voltaic power is so essential that Spherical 3 of the Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community, which kicked off extra lately, places the concentrate on underserved communities because the core problem for each residential and commercial-scale settings.

Power Resilience and Catastrophe Preparedness Carry Extra Photo voltaic Worth

Groups addressed power resilience and catastrophe preparedness as essential traits of planning for photo voltaic in distributed power methods—findings that can profit many different communities.

The Metropolis of Reno workforce acknowledged of their case research that “photo voltaic and storage could be a viable resilient infrastructure answer” and got down to “make the case for photo voltaic plus storage in emergency response and public security to indicate how this expertise might be cost-effective for native governments.” Their undertaking discusses the worth of resilience and the way that dialogue advanced over their SEIN tenure and particulars their implementation course of for including power resilience to the town’s Public Security Middle by means of an revolutionary solar-plus-storage answer.

The Breaking Obstacles workforce, talked about above, offered a wealth of knowledge for these contemplating microgrid or resiliency hubs to mitigate the consequences of grid outages. As they defined their report: “The hubs will assist Atlanta HBCUs and the energy-burdened broader group be extra resilient, along with informing new course curricula at Atlanta College Middle campuses and galvanizing related efforts at different HBCUs and past.” As a workforce chief for Breaking Obstacles, Michelle Moore mentioned that “Working with NREL’s SEIN workforce was transformative — not solely to the group resilience hub tasks we’re main in Atlanta — however to our resilience program total.”

Additionally from the commercial-scale photo voltaic cohort, the Clear Sky Tampa Bay workforce, beforehand talked about above, defined that their toolkit is a “multipurpose useful resource to assist catastrophe preparedness, improve justification for solar-plus-storage implementation, and encourage the combination of photo voltaic and storage into capital enhancements as a pre-disaster mitigation technique.” LBNL contributed to the Tampa Bay workforce’s undertaking by making a point-by-point reality sheet for extreme climate issues when siting photo voltaic PV methods.

To assist calculations for power resilience, NREL additionally leveraged their free net device, REopt Lite©, which helps customers make selections to optimize power methods; the device quantifies the financial and resilience advantages of DERs (distributed power assets) by evaluating the variety of hours the positioning may survive with totally different expertise mixtures. Study extra on the SEIN weblog concerning the Metropolis of Reno and Tampa Bay groups’ resilience efforts.

Numerous Stakeholders Contribute to Photo voltaic Success

When making an attempt revolutionary methods to combine photo voltaic into electrical distribution methods, groups discovered the best success once they introduced all the mandatory stakeholders to the desk. For instance, the Sustainable CUNY workforce, with members from non-public and public sectors, made a degree of together with each landowners’ threat administration points and subscribers’ problems of their evaluation of city group photo voltaic methods. Having multi-stakeholder groups ensured that every one the important thing stakeholders needed for motion had been already concerned, enabling groups to implement their options extra effectively.

One other instance of profitable multi-stakeholder engagement—amongst many from this cohort—got here from the workforce representing Rhode Island, who sought to extend entry to photo voltaic power in rural areas by means of improved allowing agreements that deal with capability constraints posed by lengthy feeder traces. Writing with NREL, the Rhode Island workforce reported on how they devised an answer that works for utilities and builders alike in conditions the place functions for photo voltaic developments would historically have been turned down due to internet hosting capability issues. Like many SEIN collaborations, their answer introduced collectively coverage and technical options to handle sophisticated power challenges.

Of their dialogue of the coverage panorama surrounding power distribution co-ops, the SPECs workforce argued that in the case of power innovation on behalf of group co-ops, “a broader vary of companions from inside the co-op sector and past it have to be accepted as a part of the method” for such tasks to thrive and acquire group assist, a stance mirrored by the workforce itself.

Certainly, groups had members from public utilities, nonprofits, skilled organizations, authorities workplaces, universities and faculties, college students and lecturers, state governments, and power co-ops.

Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community groups representing rural power co-ops evaluated potential solar-plus-storage options to handle the distinctive challenges rural communities face when modernizing and decarbonizing their electrical grid Photograph by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

“What makes me excited are the subsequent steps, the ripples after the undertaking is completed right here,” mentioned Eric Lockhart, who runs the Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community for NREL. “Groups are already transferring ahead to quickly increase their impacts. These groups introduced tasks that they cared about. They achieved rather a lot inside SEIN, and now it’s thrilling to see their momentum transferring these tasks past SEIN, leading to actual change.”

To be taught extra concerning the groups, go to the Spherical 2 webpage or dig by means of the trove of publications obtainable for download.

Eager about replicating Spherical 2 matters? Try the Help for Early Adopters webpage and join the Photo voltaic Power Innovation Community publication!

Article courtesy of the U.S. Division of Power’s (DOE’s) Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory (NREL).

By Sara Fall and Harrison Dreves

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