The Solar Value Project represents leading energy thinkers and do-ers, ready to make community-scale solar better through strategic design, storage and load flexibility. This website is your place to follow utility-driven and customer-engaged solar-plus innovations and to review your options, including access free resources and customized professional consulting support.
Many of our resources derive from a multi-year U.S. DOE-funded effort called the Community Solar Value Project. We worked on CSVP with public power and investor-owned utilities and world-class innovation partners. Our current project, co-funded by DOE's Solar Energy Innovation Network, is called Solar-Plus for Electric Co-ops (SPECs). Follow our Blog and developing new pages, as well as Archives and Solutions pages for information on every step in the design, procurement and marketing of projects that work for local utilities and the communities they serve.
Site Sponsors Cliburn and Associates and Extensible Energy joined forces in 2015 to initiate the Community Solar Value Project, with partners from Olivine and Navigant Consulting (now Guidehouse). We were joined SMUD, New Mexico's PNM and other utilities that wanted to "make community solar better." Our path led to ground-breaking work in solar-plus-storage and load flexibility (demand response). Today, Cliburn manages this site, featuring work from the Solar Plus for Electric Co-ops project, the National Community Solar Partnership and new client projects.
Announcing SPECs: Solar-Plus for Electric Co-ops, a new project led by Cliburn and Associates, to help optimize the procurement and operations of local solar-plus battery storage projects for electric cooperatives. The project was selected by the U.S. DOE for the second round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN). Contact us for details.
Blog: Utilities, Don't Run From Right-Sized Solar
In light of wholesale PPAs in the U.S. averaging less than 3 cents per kWh, the utility solar market is booming with expansive solar possibilities. Today, there is even a strong case to be made for purposely over-building centralized solar resources and dispatching or curtailing them to ease the need for storage in a mostly-renewables world. Yet our work is still focused on local, community-scale solar–sometimes integrated with storage or load management.
Recently, someone asked me why I've been so dogged about solutions on the local grid. I recalled how a few years ago, while our team was breaking new ground for community solar, I called our locally focused work "a market-based laboratory." That is still true, and still rewarding, today. Work at the community scale provides specific solutions, replicable solutions and scaleable solutions—the benefits of which are just starting to unfold. Utility culture bends toward centralized systems, but the future so much more diverse and better than that. I'll tell you why... and how.
News and Resources
Close-Up on the Integration Challenge
If you found the September conference scene overwhelming, the Peak Load Management Alliance offers an alternative, with a full-scale, yet human-scale on-line conference November 9-12, 2020 Gain real-world insight from practitioners and energy utilities active in the demand response, load management, and distributed energy resources marketplace. The Solar Value Project is a frequent contributor to PLMA conferences, including leadership on its Integration Interest Group. See the website or contact us for details.
Updates from LBL and SEIA
To pull a quote from a popular CSVP Blog, disruption waits for no one. Here are a couple of reports, just released that we find on our "required reading" list: Tracking the Sun 2019, reviewing a new year of distribution-scale solar market data and trends. Another report from SEIA, published with Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables, updates the U.S. solar market through Q3 2019. It predicts a doubling of the U.S. solar market within the next five years, even without assuming the most beneficial policy conditions.
Download Presentations and Check Out Our RFP Library. Our presentation from the Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange conference in Aspen, Colorado, is downloadable here. Other popular resources in our Library include community solar RFPs. Time flies, but these best-practice presentations and resources are still very current, and we think you will enjoy them.
Manage Demand and Increase Solar Use Without Batteries?
Since CSVP culminated initial work with utilities on high-value solar-plus, our site co-sponsor Extensible Energy has led work on this question. Extensible is focused on commercial buildings, where solar is a hard sell due to persistent high-demand costs, and where batteries on the recommended scale are seldom affordable. Extensible has led development of a software-based solution to optimize existing building operations in tune with utility rates and solar resource availability. To learn more about the solution, its field performance and its far-reaching promise, check Extensible’s project summary, and notices of future webinars here.
AVAILABLE NOW: Your Complete Guide to High-Value Community Solar Program Planning and Implementation. Go to our Solutions Menu, to find six ways to think outside the box about community solar challenges, so you can speed your internal processes and add program value for your utility and your customers. These approaches and tools were developed over the course of the CSVP project, working with at more than a dozen utilities nationwide. For a quick peek, here's a blog that previews the Solutions site.
Second chance to give a listen. CSVP as concluded its webinar series. But you can revisit top webinars in our archive. If you like what you hear, please send us a note through our Contact page.