Update: If you were unable to participate in Market Research and Market Segmentation for Community Solar Program Success, March 1, visit the webinar archive at the Community Value Solar Project. You can download the presentation to learn about the five-step process to drill down from general to specific research and to organize findings into an action plan.
According to a GTM Research report cited in Public Power Daily, the community solar market is poised for significant growth in the coming year. However, interest in community solar among utility customers varies widely based on demographic, regional and lifestyle factors. Utilities might be wondering how to design and implement a community solar program that appeals to customers across market segments.
Five Steps to Tailored Market Research, sponsored by the Community Solar Value Project (CSVP), will move quickly from general guidance to five specific steps that utilities can take to achieve results. The webinar features Jennifer Mitchell-Jackson, a partner in Grounded Research and Consulting and lead author of a new CSVP market research and market segmentation guide.
Market Research and Market Segmentation for Community Solar Program Success shows how to get a better understanding of different customers’ motivations before you offer a community solar program. This guide describes a five-step process, beginning with assessing research needs and tapping outside sources of community-solar market intelligence, through leveraging available utility data, and carefully designing or obtaining new customer research to address specific needs. It can be downloaded for free from the CSVP website.
The Community Solar Value Project represents leading energy thinkers and do-ers, ready to “make community solar better,” from both the sponsoring-utility and customer perspective. Members are working to develop a decision framework for community-solar program design, focusing first on optimal siting and project design, procurement, target marketing and matching with companion measures that attack solar-integration challenges.
12 -2 p.m. Mountain Time
Utilities, solar companies and software developers working on solar energy grid integration solutions will welcome a May 2 funding opportunity announcement (FOA) from the Department of Energy. The DOE program called Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy, or ENERGISE, announced that it is making $25 million available for research to modernize the national grid.
The amount of solar power installed in the U.S. has increased 23-fold in the last seven years, from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 27.4 gigawatts in 2015, with one million systems now in operation. A key challenge to furthering solar deployment is the ability to integrate distributed generation sources like rooftop solar panels into the grid while balancing that generation with traditional utility generation. This FOA aims to support companies working to meet that challenge while keeping reliable and cost-effective power flowing.
ENERGISE specifically seeks to develop software and hardware platforms for utility distribution system planning and operations that integrate sensing, communication and data analytics. These hardware and software solutions will help utilities manage solar and other distributed energy resources on the grid and will be data-driven, easily scaled-up from prototypes and capable of real-time monitoring and control.
Funds are being offered for projects addressing two topic areas:
- Topic Area 1 covers near-term projects to develop commercially ready, scalable distribution system planning and real-time grid operation solutions compatible with existing grid infrastructure to enable the addition of solar at 50 percent of the peak distribution load by 2020. A one-year field demonstration with utility partners is required.
- Topic Area 2 covers projects that tackle the long-term challenge of developing transformative and highly scalable technologies compatible with advanced grid infrastructure to enable solar at 100 percent of the peak distribution load by 2030. DOE will require a large-scale simulation to demonstrate performance and scalability.
DOE’s SunShot Initiative will oversee the projects funded by this opportunity. The program expects to make 10 to 15 awards altogether. Awards for Topic Area 1 will likely range between $500,000 and $4,000,000 each. For Topic Area 2, DOE anticipates making awards of between $500,000 and $2,000,000 each.
The Solar Energy Technologies Office is hosting an informational webinar on May 19, 12 to 2 p.m. Mountain Time. All applicants must submit a brief concept paper by June 17. Full applications are due by Aug. 26, 2016.
See the Energy Department news release.
Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 5/2/16
In a recent blog post , 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
12 p.m. Pacific Time
Many parts of the West are grappling with a housing shortage—particularly a shortage of affordable homes—so utilities can expect to see more manufactured houses in their service territory. Power providers can wait and see how these buildings affect their load or they can take action to encourage buyers to choose safer, more efficient homes. Learn about efforts to increase energy efficiency in manufactured housing Sept. 10 when the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinar series presents Manufactured Homes – New Efficiency for the Lowest Cost Housing Option.
Manufactured homes—those built in a factory and moved to a site—conform to federal code set by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) construction and safety standards rather than local building codes. Energy Star provides manufacturers with a higher voluntary standard they can meet to receive an Energy Star certification.
In anticipation of HUD updating its code to match the current voluntary efficiency standards, a partnership of utility and building industry professionals completed a study to develop the next generation of voluntary standards. Bonneville Power Administration, the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction and Northwest Energy Works teamed up to collect and evaluate energy use data on eight high-performance manufactured homes.
This webinar will present the study’s findings and look at ways utilities could incorporate the higher standards into incentive programs for customers buying manufactured homes. Participants will also learn about different state and federal regulations governing manufactured housing. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.
Bonneville Power Administration sponsors the Emerging Technologies Showcase series with support from Western Area Power Administration.
Source: Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies, 8/17/15
June 10, 2015
1 p.m. MDT
Join the Washington State University Energy Program on Wednesday, June 10, at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time, for the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinar, Heat Pump Clothes Dryers – Will Life Ever Be the Same Again?
Residential clothes dryers are not known for their efficiency—in the U.S., these appliances consume 4 percent of our annual electricity use. Worse yet, 20 to 25 percent of their heat disappears up the dryer vent. No wonder clothes dryers are not included in the federal government’s Energy Star program. However, recent advances in dryer technology may be poised to change all that.
This webinar explores basic design types of energy-saving clothes dryers and the technologies that make them more efficient than current models. Lab and field testing results will be discussed in depth, with special focus on the importance of testing dryers on actual wet laundry and in different settings. Utilities can learn about the energy savings, cost and near-term availability of the appliances, as well as ideas for providing consumer guidance and financial support to interested customers.
Bonneville Power Administration sponsors this monthly webinar series with support from Western. Get latest information about promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research.
Source: Bonneville Power Administration, 5/14/15
The Emerging Technologies Showcase series continues with the free webinar, Advanced Lighting Control Systems.
With scheduling, dimming, occupancy sensing, demand response capabilities and more, these systems can capture big energy savings for commercial customers, especially large key accounts. This webinar explores a few of these systems – how they work, their benefits and drawbacks and recent case studies.
Register today to reserve your place.
The next Showcase, on Tuesday, April 30, will cover the National Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap Portfolio. This collaborative tool identifies new energy-efficient products and services still in the research phase that need to be tested and verified before they can be introduced into the marketplace.
Sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) with support from Western, the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinars present the latest information about some promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research opportunities or focus areas.
All webinars are recorded, and available online .