Solar PV and other distributed energy resources (DERs) are playing an increasingly important role in electricity systems across the United States. When DERs are deployed optimally, they can offer benefits to the customer, to the grid, and to utility ratepayers. For example, optimally sited DERs can reduce grid congestion and help defer, reduce, or avoid distribution system upgrade costs. Likewise, targeted solar+storage deployments can provide resiliency benefits in an event of an electrical outage.

A new multistate initiative led by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit organization, will identify locations where solar and other DERs could increase the reliability and resilience of the electric grid. While this multistate initiative will primarily work to help decision-makers identify high-value locations for solar development, each participating state has its own specific approach and goals under the project. The agencies that are partnering with CESA on this initiative are:

  • Connecticut Green Bank   
  • Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia
  • New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission – Sustainable Energy Division
  • Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources  
  • Washington Department of Commerce – State Energy Office
  • Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation

The multistate initiative is one of just nine teams selected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to receive funding and technical assistance through the Solar Energy Innovation Network.  

“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to use solar power to improve the future of grid security and reliability in their communities,” said Kristen Ardani, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL.

Analytical support from NREL and its partners will be used to inform each of the participating states’ decision-making and strategies related to the high-value locational deployment of solar. Advancements and lessons learned from this multistate initiative will be shared to assist other states facing similar opportunities and challenges.