Enhanced Solar PV Deployment

March 2018 update on Enhanced Solar PV Deployment project.  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO; formerly known as the SunShot Initiative) had its annual portfolio review in Washington D.C. on February 12-13, 2018.  Both days started with general sessions involving all ~500 attendees.  In late morning and early afternoon sessions, attendees moved into their project areas – concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, systems integration, and soft costs and technology-to-market – for area-specific presentations.  The WIEB/NREL/LBNL project was assigned to the soft costs/technology-to-market area.  Late afternoon sessions involved poster presentations of work done on projects funded by SETO in 2017.  There were ~300 posters in the exhibition hall.     

WIEB staff working on the SETO-funded project, including David Manning and Richard McAllister, attended the portfolio review and presented 2017 findings from the interconnection portion of the project.  Click here to access the poster presenting interconnection-related findings.  For a summary of David’s and Richard’s notes from the portfolio review, click here.  The accompanying picture shows David Manning presenting the poster to one of the portfolio reviewers.   


November 2017 update on Enhanced Solar PV Deployment project.  All three Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) for this Department of Energy SunShot-funded project have met on several occasions in 2017, Year 1 of the project.  The TAC advising the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on the general barrier of interconnection of distributed solar PV generation with the grid has met twice, with the second meeting including a presentation by NREL on its research plan.  The TAC advising NREL on the general barrier of potential reliability concerns associated with deployment of distributed solar PV generation has met three times, with NREL presenting its research plan for this barrier during the third meeting of the reliability TAC.  NREL and WIEB are now conducting research concerning the barriers of interconnection concerns and potential reliability concerns.

In addition, the TACs for interconnection concerns and potential reliability concerns had a two-day workshop at the California ISO on October 26-27.  On October 26, a series of speakers made interconnection-related presentations.  On October 27, presentations were reliability-related.  A tour of the ISO Control Room was also provided by Clyde Loutan, Principal, Renewable Energy Integration at the ISO and a member of the Reliability TAC.  Summaries of the presentations can be accessed here.

The TAC advising Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on the barrier of utility rate design concerns associated with deployment of distributed solar PV generation has met once, with a second upcoming meeting during which LBNL will present its tentative research plan.

In summary, project status is as follows:

  • Interconnection barrier – draft report in progress, report to be finalized by the end of Q1 2018
  • Potential reliability concerns barrier – research plan finalized, modeling will be conducted over the next calendar year
  • Utility rate design concerns barrier – draft research plan will be reviewed by TAC in mid-November 2017

For further information, please contact Richard McAllister, Project Manager at WIEB, at 720-897-4604 or rmcallister@westernenergyboard.org

October 2017 update on Enhanced Solar Deployment project.  Several members of the NREL/WIEB project team participated in a session entitled Enhancing the Deployment of Distributed Solar PV Generation at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) SOLAR 2017 conference in Denver.  The conference was held in early October.  After an overview of the SunShot-funded project by Richard McAllister (WIEB), presentations on the barriers of interconnectionpotential reliability concerns, and utility rate design concerns were made by Kristen Ardani (NREL), Lori Bird (NREL), and Maury Galbraith (WIEB), respectively.  The session was moderated by Professor KK DuVivier (University of Denver Sturm College of Law), and it also included presentations by Professor DuVivier and Rick Gilliam (Vote Solar).


In spite of optimistic projections for distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in the Western U.S. (see Background below), barriers to solar PV deployment exist and their mitigation or removal could facilitate deployment. Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB), along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), will conduct research to facilitate mitigation/removal of barriers to distributed solar PV generation.


Deployment of distributed solar PV generation, principally behind-the-meter solar PV systems on residential and commercial rooftops, is accelerating across the U.S. This trend is particularly evident in the Western U.S., where the solar resource is abundant. The following graph illustrates projected nameplate capacity of behind-the-meter solar PV generation, for year 2026, in 11 Western states. California is the leader for deployment of distributed solar PV generation, but several other states are also projected to have significant nameplate capacity deployed by 2026.

Projected distributed solar PV generation (behind-the-meter only) for year 2026 in the Western U.S. by the consultancy E3. Ordinate, nameplate capacity of distributed solar PV generation in megawatts (MW). Note break in y-axis. California is projected to have in excess of 12,000 MW of solar PV generation nameplate capacity. Several other Western states are also projected to have significant solar PV nameplate capacities.


Barriers to solar PV deployment, as noted above, do exist. These barriers fall into three broad categories:

    • lengthy timelines for distributed solar PV interconnection with the grid;
    • potential grid reliability concerns; and
    • concerns with utility rate design

WIEB and its national laboratory partners will work with Technical Advisory Committees to identify and define perceived barriers to deployment of solar PV; conduct research concerning the perceived barriers; identify and define measures that could mitigate or remove the barriers; and conduct outreach to state policy makers and regulators to facilitate mitigation or removal of the barriers.

Total funding for this work is approximately $2.5 million. The work will begin in early 2017, and will be conducted over years 2017-2019.

Next Steps

WIEB is currently soliciting volunteers to serve on Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) to provide NREL with input on its research plans for the interconnection timeline and reliability barriers, as well as feedback on its research findings and final reports. TAC members can be from Western state public utility commissions and energy offices, and from other stakeholder groups such as the solar sector and environmental organizations.


For more information about this project and to volunteer to serve on a TAC, please contact Richard McAllister at WIEB: rmcallister@westernenergyboard.org