National Reports & Resources
Below is a compilation of reports and resources that have helped inform the focus areas of Solar Plus. We list topical reports followed by national lab resources for technical assistance.
Community and Grid Resiliency
- The Contribution of Distributed Solar to Reliability, Grid Resilience, and Community Resilience, prepared by Summer Dean at Renewable Northwest for Solar Plus Northwest, August 2018. The role of this report is to establish a framework around community resilience, grid resilience, and reliability within the context of distributed solar energy systems.
- Value of Solar: Program Design and Implementation Considerations, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Mar 2015. Report discusses VOS program design options and considers how a VOS rate may impact future development of distributed PV projects. It does not consider the calculation of a VOS rate.
- Methods for Analyzing the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Photovoltaic Generation to the U.S. Electric Utility System, NREL, 2014. Report describes current and potential future methods, data, and tools to estimate the benefits and costs of distributed PV. It focuses on benefits and costs from the utility perspective.
- Grid Connected DG: Compensation Mechanism Basics, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Electricity Markets & Policy Group, Oct 2017. Defines compensation mechanisms for behind-the-meter DG systems (not just solar). Describes metering & billing arrangements including: net energy metering (NEM); buy all, sell all; and net billing.
- Value of Solar and Grid Benefits Studies, RAP presentation by Jim Lazar, 7/21/16. Delves into the value of solar, including an examination of the relative merits of various types of VOS studies, cost recovery methods, and how results from these studies can affect rate design and compensation for PV customers. See a webinar presentation of similar material here.
- RVOS Methodologies Survey Renewable Northwest, Renewable Northwest, 2017. Review of methodologies for calculating a VOS, used in Austin, Minnesota, and other states under consideration.
Workforce Economic Development
- 2017 Solar Foundation Workforce Diversity Study is the first comprehensive research on diversity in the solar workforce, including the representation of women, minority groups, and veterans.
- Solar Installation Labor Market Analysis, NREL Dec 2011. Through primary research on the U.S. solar installation employer base, this report details the evolving needs of solar employers and the economic opportunity associated with solar market development. Old enough to be of interest to historians.
- Solar Jobs Census, The Solar Foundation. An annual assessment of solar industry employment at the national, state, and local levels. It is the most authoritative national benchmark for solar jobs research, and serves a critical role in understanding the impact of solar energy development in the United States.
- Solar Energy Education and Training Best Practices: The Series, Interstate Renewable Energy Council. These documents enable instructors to enhance current solar curriculum while providing a roadmap for those who are considering adding solar to related trades curriculum. The series gives solar instructors the right tools for the job of training a highly skilled, globally competitive solar workforce.
- Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models, NREL. The JEDI models are user-friendly tools that estimate the economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation plants at the local and state levels. JEDI analyzes the impact of biofuels, coal, concentrating solar power, geothermal, marine and hydrokinetic power, natural gas, and photovoltaic power plants.
Access and Equity
- Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States, NREL, April, 2018. This report serves to expand upon previous NREL research investigating the technical potential of rooftop solar in the United States, aiming to improve the understanding in the residential sector, particularly for low-to-moderate income households.
- Front and Centered, 2017 Community Listening Sessions on Solar Power. This report summarizes findings from 11 listening sessions held across Washington State. The primary targets for engagement were communities across Washington who are likely to be identified as disproportionately vulnerable to environmental burdens, particularly communities of color, households with lower incomes, immigrants and refugees, and linguistically isolated groups.
- Low-Moderate-Income Solar Policy Basics, NREL. This web page outlines the background, implementation issues and best design practices for implementing distributed solar resources to reach low-moderate income consumers. It also covers potential financing mechanisms, funding sources, future challenges and next steps.
- Low Income Solar: Lessons Learned from Low Income Energy Efficiency Programs, Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) and LBNL, Mar 2013. This webinar offers best practices learned from energy efficiency programs and how they can be applied to low income solar programs.
- Principles and Policies for Low and Moderate Income Solar. CESA Syllabus, 2017. This syllabus compiles policy analysis and case studies from across the country. The following studies are excerpted from the syllabus.
- From Power to Empowerment: Plugging Low Income Communities into the Clean Energy Economy, Groundswell. Details the relationship between energy and economic opportunity in the U.S. A call to action to accelerate the adoption of community solar legislation, to expand and support energy efficiency programs that align with community solar, and to drive consumer adoption of these programs through place-based community organizations.
- Low-Income Barriers Study, Part A: Overcoming Barriers to Energy Efficiency and Renewables for Low-Income Communities, California Energy Commission, Dec 2016. This report explores the barriers to and opportunities for expanding low-income customers’ access to energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy investments
- California Single Family Affordable Solar Housing Handbook, CPUC, Oct 2015. Provides technical program requirements, incentive structure and processes for participating in SASH 2.0
- Bringing the Benefits of Solar Energy to Low income Consumers, CESA, May 2017. This guide offers recommendations for State and Municipal policy makers.
- Publicly Supported Solar Loan Programs, CESA, Jan 2017. This guide informs state and municipal officials about best practices and the various approaches to opening up the lending marketplace for residential solar.
- Breaking Ground: New Models that Deliver Energy Solutions to Low-Income Customers, Rocky Mountain Institute, 2016. Profiles four new business models for encouraging low income customer participation in distributed energy resources.
- People Powered Policy: Communities of Color lead on Climate Change and Solar in Oakland CA, Center for Social Inclusion, Jul 2013. Case study highlights how communities of color lead the way on climate policy
- Illinois Solar For All: Creating a Low Income Solar Program from the Ground Up, SEIA, Mar 2017. This presentation covers principles, process, and lessons learned in building a solar program with low income community advocates.
- Analysis of the Fulfillment of the Low-Income Carveout for Community Solar Subscriber Organizations: Lotus Engineering, Nov 2015. Includes best practices for gaining participation of LMI customers in community solar.
- Racial Equity Toolkit, Greenlining, 2013. Not specific to solar, this is a step-by-step thinking tool designed to help policymakers consider the needs of all communities.
Resources for Technical Assistance
- Solar Technical Assistance for States. (STAT) The STAT program offered through NREL provides direct technical assistance to state and local governments on matters that require solar market expertise and do-it-yourself online education on solar technologies, resources, and the role that state and local governments play in supporting the development of those resources.
- LBNL, Electricity Markets & Policy Group (EMP Group). The LBNL EMP group offers technical assistance to states to analyze costs and benefits associated with Renewable Energy, including a focus on Grid Operations and Infrastructure Impacts.
Solar Soft Cost Reduction
In 2015, the Northwest Solar Communities initiative, supported by WA Department of Commerce and Spark Northwest, convened utilities and jurisdictions across Oregon and Washington to develop standardized tools to make the process of going solar simple, fast, and cost effective. The Northwest Solar Communities initiative worked under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative, Rooftop Solar Challenge program to reduce the “soft costs” associated with installing rooftop solar electricity. Find resources geared towards jurisdictions and utilities on: