Supporting Utility Innovation

Utilities play a critical role in managing our electric system and ensuring that the power we get is stable, reliable, reasonably priced and safe. Hence, utilities are in a unique position to help develop and implement strategies to deploy more solar power. Across the country, utilities have taken various steps to integrate more renewable energy into our electricity mix. Often these initiatives are required by state regulatory bodies, however many utilities have become increasingly supportive and innovative as they’ve seen demand for solar and other clean energy sources grow among their customers. Through Solar Market Pathways, utilities are:

  • Developing comprehensive strategies to integrate solar into their electricity supply.
  • Creating and refining utility-based community solar models.
  • Exploring innovative financing solutions.
  • Partnering with municipal government and nonprofit organizations to support solar deployment plans and programs.
  • Helping decision-makers, solar installers and customers understand costs incurred by rate-payers as distributed solar grows in popularity.
  • Addressing interconnection policies and practices.

Examples of our work:

Dominion Virginia Power (DVP), one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, is leading a broad-based team including representatives from state government, research institutions, environmental organizations, local communities and solar businesses to develop sustainable models for solar deployment to benefit Virginians as well as others throughout the Southeast. Learn more here.

In Illinois, SMP Awardee Cook County is partnering with the local utility, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), to develop community solar pilot projects. Through this work, the utility and other project partners will be engaged in identifying interconnection issues, implementing billing practices, and quantifying grid benefits such as increased reliability to end users and lower utility peak demand. Learn more here.

Work is also underway, through the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), to create model community solar programs that can be implemented by utilities. Learn more here.

The Community Solar Value Project, led by Extensible Energy, is working with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and other utilities to develop a community solar program model that offers a new approach to demand response and is, ultimately, part of the larger effort to reinvent utility systems for the 21st century. Learn more here.