NREL Says Shared Solar Represents A Potential 11 GW Market Through 2020

Posted by weijing3333 on June 19th, 2015

Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds that shared solar projects accessible by households and businesses that currently cannot host on-site photovoltaic systems could represent 32% to 49% of the distributed PV market in 2020.The report provides an overview of the current U.S. shared solar landscape, estimates the market potential for U.S. shared solar deployment and evaluates  how U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations affect how such programs may be structured.Key findings of the report include the following:

At least 49% of U.S. households and 48% of businesses are currently unable to host a PV system due to site unsuitability, ownership and multi-unit dwelling status;Shared solar could lead to cumulative U.S. PV deployment growth of 5.5 GW to 11 GW between 2015 and 2020; andShared solar projects that are marketed and structured to reduce customers' retail electricity bills are less likely to be treated as securities than those marketed and structured primarily as profit-generating programs.

"Historically, PV business models and regulatory environments have not been designed to expand access to a significant portion of potential PV system customers," says David Feldman, NREL energy analyst and lead author on the report. "As a result, the economic, environmental and social benefits of distributed PV have not been available to all consumers. Shared solar programs open up the market to the other half of businesses and households."The research was funded by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of its SunShot Initiative.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has updated its mapping tool in order to make it easier for customers and contractors to make informed decisions about installing new solar photovoltaic systems.The updates to the company's Oahu mapping tool include the following:Customers and contractors can now search for a specific street number and name, instead of just street names. This new capability makes it possible to pinpoint the circuit status of a specific home or business. Data is now updated nightly on weekdays, making the information timely. Map colors show more precisely how much customer-sited electric generation of any kind is on a circuit.

The tool now shows how much circuit capacity for distributed generation remains before reaching a 15% checkpoint that may indicate the need for further study before more distributed generation can be added to that circuit.When large amounts of PV and any form of customer-sited distributed generation (DG) are already installed on an electric circuit, Hawaiian Electric needs to consider whether adding more DG makes electric service less reliable for all customers on that circuit, whether they have DG or not.On Oahu, small solar PV systems of 10 kW or less generally do not require additional interconnection studies at this time. However, larger systems may present reliability concerns that require circuit studies and upgrades.
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