New Solar Energy Innovation Network Teams Announced

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Via the US Department of Energy (DOE):

Washington, D.C. — Today the U.S. Department of Energy announced that eight teams have been selected to participate in the second round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network, a program that supports multi-stakeholder teams pursuing new applications of solar energy and other distributed energy resources in unique locations and contexts. The solutions developed by the teams are demonstrated and validated in real-world contexts, making them ready for replication and scale.

The second round of teams will research innovations to help increase solar energy adoption and resilience in rural communities and at the commercial scale. Their research projects will include resilience solutions that pair solar energy with energy storage, which allows the use of solar energy when the sun is not shining, and microgrids, which can function independently to deliver power in the event of a larger grid outage.

“We want to ensure that more Americans have access to reliable, affordable energy,” said Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R. Simmons. “These teams will share ideas and insights with each other as they conduct their research. This collaboration will result in replicable innovations that will ease solar energy adoption in rural areas and on commercial buildings across the country.”

The eight teams include diverse stakeholders — utilities, industry, state and local governments, regulators, and nonprofits — who work together to identify and analyze the specific challenges related to their projects, formulate and test innovations, and validate new models.

The commercial-scale solar teams will examine how to reduce the cost of solar and storage on commercial, industrial, municipal, and university buildings, as well as how to optimize and quantify the value of the resilience these systems provide. The teams are led by:

  • Groundswell, Inc. (GA)
  • Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York (NY)
  • Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (FL)
  • City of Reno (NV)

The teams focusing on rural communities will investigate how to cost-effectively site, install, and finance solar and energy storage systems, as well as how to optimize and quantify the value of the resilience these systems provide. The teams are led by:

  • Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (RI)
  • Clean Energy Extension at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
  • Cliburn and Associates, LLC (CO, GA, and NM)
  • East River Electric Power Cooperative and University of Minnesota (MN and SD)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Rocky Mountain Institute will provide the teams with analytical, modeling, and facilitation support to develop their solutions. Teams will also receive direct funding of up to $125,000.

This round of the Innovation Network will end in spring 2021, and the teams will present their findings to other entities facing similar challenges. Sign up for the Innovation Network mailing list to stay informed of their progress.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is leading the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’ Solar Energy Technologies Office, part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Learn more about the Solar Energy Technologies Office HERE.

Learn more about the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy HERE.

More about the Solar Energy Innovation Network is available on NREL’s website.

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