SUNDA Project Addresses Barriers to Solar Deployment at Electric Cooperatives

What is SUNDA?

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Energy to create the Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) Project.

The SUNDA Project is developing a “PV system package” consisting of engineering designs; business models, financing and insurance options; and optimized procurement that will drastically reduce soft-costs, including:

  • Engineering design costs 25%
  • Consolidated procurement costs by 10%
  • Insurance costs by 25%

The overall goal of the project is to reach a target of $1.60/Wp installed cost.

Executive Summary

There are over 900 electric cooperatives (co-ops) which serve more than 42 million Americans in 47 states while operating 2.4 million line-miles covering more than 70% of the nation’s land. Many co-ops are interested in solar PV, but only a few have deployed utility-scale (1 MW or more) systems because of insufficient: standardized designs; cost-benefit analysis tools; assistance with finance, procurement, and permitting; and training and best practices for operations and maintenance. The objective of the SUNDA project is to create a set of tools that will enhance the ability of co-ops to design, finance, deploy and operate utility-scale solar PV systems at their facilities. To achieve this objective, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is working with a select set of co-ops to develop, test and refine a standard “PV system package”, which will include standardized engineering designs and support products (purchasing, insurance, and training). This package will ultimately be available for use by all co-ops.

Fourteen co-ops from across the nation are involved in this collaborative project. Click here to learn more.

Distributed Generation (DG) Toolkit: To help electric cooperatives address the legal, economic, and technical issues raised by consumer-owned generation, NRECA has compiled a number of helpful resources called the DG Toolkit.