Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Non-Wires Alternatives: What’s up next in utility business model evolution

Utilities not already considering NWAs in planning processes should
wise up quick, says Navigant analyst Brett Feldman.
Opinion posted on Utility Dive

On May 17, 2017, Bonneville Power Authority (BPA) made an announcement that flew under the radar of most of the energy industry . . . This decision “reflects a shift for BPA—from the traditional approach of primarily relying on new construction to meet changing transmission needs, to embracing a more flexible, scalable and economically and operationally efficient approach to managing our transmission system.” The preferred solution includes resources like battery storage, flow control devices, and demand response. Such projects have become known as non-wires alternatives (NWA), and are proliferating across the country.
Read more here.

Photo: Flickr user Doug Wertman

ALSO IN THE NEWS

#StorageIsHere: Like Solar, Storage Has Only Started To Hit Its Stride

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Blog
#StorageIsHere
In 2013, Standard Solar and SunEdison installed one of the nation’s first commercial-scale solar-plus-storage systems at a commercial site in Maryland. The storage component supplemented the expansive solar arrays by protecting the facility from power outages.

Fast forward to 2015, the U.S. energy storage market saw a remarkable 243 percent growth, according to a recent report by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). In fact, there was more energy storage capacity deployed in just one quarter of 2015 (112 megawatts) than in 2013 and 2014 combined (106 megawatts). Read more.

Click here to learn more about Energy Storage Association’s #StorageIsHere campaign. It culminates today with companies and organizations across the nation sharing resources, white papers, case studies and multimedia content about energy storage.

DOE allotted $18 million earlier this year to fund six new integrated PV and storage projects.

Gender Equality in Clean Energy: A Challenge Shared by All Countries

Huffington Post / Co-authored by Neha Matthew, Associate Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club’s International Campaign and Rebecca Pearl-Martinez, a Research Fellow and Head of the Renewable Equity Project (REP)

Solar Sister Entrepreneur Levina from Kandaga Village. Photo Credit: Solar Sister Tanzania

Solar Sister Entrepreneur Levina from Kandaga Village. Photo Credit: Solar Sister Tanzania

The gender inequalities that persist throughout the energy sector inspired the creation of the Renewable Equity Project (REP), a new initiative building knowledge and action on women’s advancement throughout the energy value chain — from engineering and technology to the boardrooms of energy corporations. Housed at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the initiative is the first effort to improve gender data across clean energy technologies and to demonstrate the impact that women’s advancement could have on expanding the clean energy economy.

Read the entire blog here.

Renewable Equity Project (REP)

Also of potential interest: 

Women in Solar Energy (WISE) 

Women in Solar Energy Vimeo (1.35 minutes)

SEIA’s archived webinar, Women in Solar Energy

Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) is a global network for women advancing clean energy http://c3enet.org

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University is joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI) to support implementation of the DOE-led U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) program to advance women’s participation and leadership in clean energy. Women represent substantially less than half of the workforce across the energy field; closing the gender gap is a major goal of C3E. The new collaboration with the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy will broaden the geographic reach of the U.S. C3E program and help further raise awareness of C3E and women’s leadership in the energy sector. http://energy.gov/articles/stanford-precourt-institute-energy-joins-us-department-energy-and-mit-energy-initiative

Solar Market Pathways’ New Website

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Market Pathways

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Solar Market Pathways

The Solar Market Pathways program has launched a new website aimed at disseminating key insights from 15 SunShot Initiative projects that are advancing solar deployment across the United States. These projects take a variety of approaches to develop actionable strategic plans to expand solar electricity use for residential, community, and commercial properties.

The case studies and lessons learned from the Solar Market Pathways projects provide examples that can be replicated—an important step towards making solar deployment faster, easier, and cheaper across the country

The Solar Market Pathways Program brings together 14 diverse teams from across the country under a single goal: increase solar adoption by reducing the soft costs associated with solar. Here are some of their key approaches:

Developing Regional Strategies
Enhancing Community Resilience
Reaching Lower Income Americans
Expanding Community Solar
Supporting Utility Innovation
Partnering With Higher Education

Visit the new Solar Market Pathways webpage for access to tool kits, case studies, resources, and accomplishments: www.solarmarketpathways.org

Department of Energy Success Story – Connection Without the Costs

Consumers who are planning to go solar can now save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in the process, thanks to a new invention that was funded by the SunShot Initiative’s Incubator program. It’s called the ConnectDER, and in addition to its consumer benefits, it soon might appeal to utilities, too.

The ConnectDER device sits in-between the meter and the meter socket.. Photo credit: Department of Energy

The ConnectDER device sits in-between the meter and the meter socket.. Photo credit: Department of Energy

Typically, after sunlight gathered by solar panels is turned into electricity by an inverter, it must be connected to a home’s electrical service panel. This can be difficult because panels are often located in hard to reach areas of a home, like basements or attics. For those who live in older homes, electrical service panels may not be built to handle the amount of energy being produced by solar panels and upgrading may be expensive.

The ConnectDER device makes it faster and easier to install a solar array by removing the need to upgrade electrical service panels or run wiring through a home’s interior, meaning solar technicians don’t need to enter your home. The ConnectDER is mounted between a home’s electric meter and meter socket, which is located outside. Cables from the inverter are connected directly to the device instead of being routed through a home. The meter can also handle more voltage than an electrical service panel, easily bearing the burden of routing power into the home.

By removing the need to replace the electrical service panel and run wiring through a house, the ConnectDER device saves consumers between $500 and $3,000 in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

With a proven beta product under its belt, ConnectDER is now in the process of finalizing an advanced version of its device. The second-generation SMART ConnectDER has the same configuration, mounted between a home’s electric meter and the meter socket, but it allows utilities to monitor how much solar energy is generated at a given location. Having this insight into supply and demand will allow utilities to ensure grid stability, and help reduce the likelihood of power outages.

More Department of Energy Success Stories are posted here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Solar Power World: Brooks Utility Products and ConnectDER to simplify electric metering for solar installations.
“Brooks Utility Products, a supplier of electric metering products for the utility industry for more than 142 years, is providing design and manufacturing expertise to innovative startup ConnectDER, (formerly Infinite Invention).”

Veteran Affairs Approval Processes, the GI Bill and Solar Training – Free Webinar

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 / 1:00-2:00 PM CDT

Key to the solar industry’s continued growth is the next generation of skilled professionals to support its technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched a pilot solar installation training program to provide military veterans transitioning out of active duty with the skills needed to become the leaders of the nation’s clean energy economy. The Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) is playing an active advisory role in the development of the pilot project. According to the White House, the SITN aims to train 50,000 new solar installers in total by 2020, some of who will be veterans. Since 1944, millions of veterans have used GI Bill education benefits to attend colleges, universities and other kinds of training programs.

In this webinar, the Department of Veterans Affairs will present how institutions and programs can secure VA approval so that veterans can use the GI Bill education benefits for solar workforce skills training.

The webinar is free, but you must register to attend. This webinar will be recorded and archived on the IREC website. See also: SolarCity and Employment Opportunities for the Solar Workforce – free webinar

PRESENTER
Mark A Brenton, Management & Program Analyst, Department of Veterans Affairs, Education Service
Mark has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs for eight years. He is currently a Management & Program Analyst on Central Office’s Contract Management Team. Previously, Mark was the Education Liaison Representative (ELR) for Virginia before becoming the Supervisory ELR for the Buffalo Regional Processing Office. Mark recently retired from the USAF Reserve after 21 years of service both Active Duty and the Reserve Component. Mark is a graduate of the University of Dayton. He currently resides in Virginia with his family.

About the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN)
The Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) supports the professional development of instructors who train the nation’s solar workforce on photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating and cooling (SHC) installations.  The Network consists of a National Administrator and nine Regional Training Providers who will collaborate to develop model curricula and train local instructors.  The network was developed to address a critical need for consistent, high-quality solar installation training across the nation and was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy for five years.  It will provide community colleges, trade unions and other groups with high-quality training models and instructional support, in an effort to expand the nation’s trained solar workforce and ensure a high standard for all solar installations. www.sitnusa.org

About Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
IREC believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. A not-for-profit organization since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. For more information, visit http://www.irecusa.org