Solar Builder

SEP-OCT 2017

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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Nevada's residential solar industry. In a year's time, we are celebrating not only its return, but its new features, such as the Solar Consumer Bill of Rights. Jon Wellinghoff, principal at Policy/DER Consulting, played a big part in that revival, dem- onstrating the value of solar to the grid. The case was so compelling the new commission reversed the decision of the prior com- mission. Wellinghoff says the way forward will require the three I's: information, innovation (financial innova- tion, specifically) and integration. "Not just that solar is going to integrate storage. We need to look at it from a DER perspective behind the meter. Demand response, energy efficiency — all of those things have to be integrated. You unify the whole, and you can provide the consumer with the resources to not only control costs internally but have the ability to make money externally in the markets." GRID REFORM Richard Kauffman, the chairman of energy and finance for New York, who took home the Intersolar Champion of Change award, delivered the same mes- sage. His state's Reforming Energy Vision (REV ) is a renewable energy strategy with aggressive goals and buy-in from all industry stakeholders that has received widespread praise. Kauffman is never one to mince words about what needs to change about the grid and how REV is doing that in New York. "We can't keep bolting DER and large-scale renewables onto a grid that wasn't designed for them," he told the crowd. "We need to build a new grid. We need to drive capital to build the grid of the future, and that's what REV aims to do. So far, we've got support of the utility industry and the business community because there are a lot of win- ners if we do this right." A key in this future grid? Focusing on locational value — a successor to net metering. "It's still in its early days, but this is a critical policy objective because different DERs have dif- ferent locational values on the grid," he says. "Locational price signals will drive DERs to areas where all customers will benefit, drive down soft costs and take us out of the net metering debate. Locational values will drive capital. "We need to help utili- ties start thinking of solar as a business for them too, and I'm not talking utility ownership. Our grid is not only energy inefficient, which is not a surprise because it wasn't designed to be, it is financially inefficient. There are ample oppor- tunities for utilities to earn a share of savings for improving the inefficiency of the system, and solar and storage can make a big difference." But all of this kumbaya, pro-solar integration will still fall short, says Martin Keller, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), if new materials and new production methods don't hit the market. His organization is at the forefront of renewable research and pushing innovation. "We need to do a better job of integrating into the grid and looking at how solar integrates with all other technologies," he says. "That's our biggest challenge in the years to come. How do we continue to build the grid of the future?" SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 9 Jon Wellinghoff, principal at Policy/DER Consulting. Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York, took home the Intersolar Champion of Change award.

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