Webinar: Improve chances for success of your community solar project

Oct. 5
11 a.m.-12 p.m. MT

The Community Solar Value Project You are leaving WAPA.gov. is back with a free live webinar on Oct. 5.

What Makes the Biggest Difference in Achieving Community Solar Success? You are leaving WAPA.gov. will feature utility industry journalist Herman K. Trabish discussing case studies he covered for Utility DiveYou are leaving WAPA.gov. CSVP leaders will join Trabish to share case studies that illustrate their best-practice picks.

The discussion will be divided into coverage of the following questions and more:

  • Where’s the balance point between utility freedom and regulatory push?
  • Which lessons-learned are most often ignored—and at what price?
  • Which utilities have found the best pricing solutions, and how?
  • How do you speed up the program-design process?
  • Do pilot programs help or hinder?

Besides looking inside the machinery of successful community solar programs, speakers will explore the question of what kinds of policies most help—or hurt—community solar program innovation.

The webinar will also include an advanced look at CSVP’s new Solutions Toolkit, which offers practical approaches in the six top challenge areas CSVP has identified through its work with utility partners. In addition to some familiar analytic methods and guides that CSVP has field tested this year, the toolkit features brand new resources to help utility program designers make community solar better.

This webinar is free, but registration is required. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the keys to making the most of your community solar project.

Source: Community Solar Value Project, 9/11/17

ACEEE: Economists, energy practitioners need to work together to improve energy efficiency programs

In a recent blog post You are leaving Western's site., Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, suggested that energy-efficiency programs could benefit if economists and energy professionals combined their skills, instead of talking past each other.

In the past year, economists have been producing more and more papers questioning the effectiveness of energy-efficiency programs and policies. Acknowledging that not all programs are well-designed, Nadel pointed out that the studies, too, have flaws that prevent them from providing meaningful evaluation.

One problem, he observed, is that the two industries use different methods to measure results. Economists tend to prefer rigorous evaluation through randomized control trials. In these studies, a large group of potential participants is randomly assigned to either a study or control group. But randomized control trials can be very difficult to implement, as even some economists admit. In full-scale programs that are available to all utility customers, random assignment to a control group is simply not possible.

In recent years, the energy-efficiency community has increasingly relied on the use of “deemed savings estimates” that are supposed to be based on prior evaluations. Unfortunately, these evaluations are not always as rigorous or as frequent as they need to be to give an accurate estimate.

Some study designs evaluate only certain aspects of a program, while overlooking goals and benefits that were central to the implementers’ intent, the ACEEE executive director said. He also noted that there have been times economists applied conclusions drawn from one evaluation to programs that have little in common with the one studied.

Nadel proposes that the two sides need to work together; first, to identify typical and similar program models for study; and second, to develop evaluation methods for those programs that combine each community’s professional strengths. Economists tend to be good at research methods, he notes, but don’t always understand the markets they are evaluating. Energy-efficiency program managers need to convey to researchers the program goals, and potential benefits that go beyond simple cost-benefits analysis.

Evaluation of energy-efficiency programs to determine what works—for utilities and customers—is an ongoing challenge for program designers. Nadel concluded that if the economic and energy-efficiency communities could learn to collaborate rather than work in silos, the studies they produce could lead to more effective programs.

Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 12/8/15