Center for Climate Protection Launches National Renewable Energy Laboratory Project

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Woody Hastings

707-525-1665 ext. 117

The Solar Energy Innovation Network project will work with Community Choice Energy
agencies to design an advanced rate structure for Distributed Energy Resources

Santa Rosa, CA — May 17, 2018 — The Climate Center (Center) today announced its team was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid.

The Advanced Rate Structure project, formally titled “Exploring Advanced Rate Structures to Expedite Solar + Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Deployment,” is part of the Grid Flexibility group of NREL’s Solar Energy Innovation Network program.

Joining the Center on the Advanced Rate Structure team are key partners TerraVerde Energy LLC; Chris Cone Consulting; Grid Policy, Inc.; California Solar and Storage Association; and two California Community Choice agencies (CCAs): Lancaster Choice Energy and Peninsula Clean Energy. TerraVerde Energy will lead technical development, and the CCAs will advise from the perspective of an operational electricity provider and help design a virtual pilot of the rate structure.

California energy policymakers have established Distributed Energy Resources (DER) deployment as a key strategy for reaching the State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. To support this goal, electricity providers need tools to identify high avoided-cost grid locations, assess DER project grid‑service value, and incentivize DER deployment. The Advanced Rate Structure project will provide a replicable, scalable, and effective tool that will allow electricity providers to expedite and guide DER deployment.

The Center’s team is one of just nine teams selected to join the nationwide 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.

The Advanced Rate Structure Team’s participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network will include financial, analytical, and facilitation support as the team works to anticipate and address new challenges and opportunities stemming from solar energy and other distributed energy technologies in California. The solutions developed and demonstrated by the Advanced Rate Structure Team will serve as a blueprint for other communities facing similar challenges and opportunities.

Specifically, this project will deliver a tool that can produce rate structures to incentivize deployment of DERs including distributed solar photovoltaics, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicles, and demand response technologies. The project will create a DER rate structure design tool that captures the value of DER projects; can be readily adopted, customized, and updated by electricity providers in response to load management imperatives, policy directives, technological advances, and customer demands; and enables informed and expedited deployment of DER resources.

“There is a reason why we just changed our name to the California Solar and Storage Association after focusing on solar for 40 years. Technologies like storage, electric vehicles, and automated demand response are making it imperative that we figure out how to optimize integrations of these technologies with solar. Designing a rate structure that helps foster these innovative deployments is essential,” said Brad Heavner, Policy Director, California Solar and Storage Association, formerly the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).

The Advanced Rate Structure project will deliver a tool that can produce rate structures to incentivize deployment of DERs in a technologically agnostic way; provide a transparent methodology for valuing benefits of DER installations that can also be adapted to technological advances and customized to conditions in electricity provider territories; and provide a consistent approach that enables electricity providers to focus their resources on grid-resilient DER development.

“Community Choice agencies in California can not only set their own rates but can also establish their own rate structures. We have more and more customers combining solar with storage, electric vehicles, and other energy technologies. We are looking for a win/win for both our load management and customer benefits,” said Jan Pepper, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Clean Energy.

The Advanced Rate Structure Team is ready to hit the ground running on the project, which is expected to conclude in mid-2019. “We are very excited about this project and see it as an opportunity to truly push the envelope of advancing distributed energy resources. Our Community Choice partners are ideally suited to playing a key role because of their close relationship to their local community and their ability to be flexible and creative,” said Rick Brown, PhD, President of TerraVerde Energy.

NREL is operating the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. NREL pursues fundamental research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to transform the way we use energy.

About Selectee Organizations

The project team includes the project lead Center for Climate Protection. The Center, a California 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001, works with business, government, youth and the broader community to advance practical, science-based solutions for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Chris Cone Consulting, consulting firm specializing in pay-for-performance solutions that drive scalable clean energy investment, deliver demand management and rate protection value, and foster innovation, accountability, and competition.

TerraVerde Energy LLC, an independent energy advisor representing school districts, public agencies, and commercial enterprises. We help clients reduce energy use and costs by planning, designing and implementing energy conservation measures, solar energy systems, and energy storage solutions.

Grid Policy, Inc., Led by Jon Wellinghoff, is dedicated to expanding the use of and investment in clean and sustainable DERs in a dynamic grid through reducing market barriers and opening market opportunities. Grid Policy works to remove regulatory, policy, market and institutional barriers to the implementation of cost-effective grid technologies and systems.

California Solar and Storage Association, formerly the California Solar Energy Industry Association, is a solar rooftop and storage trade association dedicated to building California’s solar and storage industries for over 40 years.

Lancaster Choice Energy is a Community Choice Agency providing electricity to the citizens and businesses in the City of Lancaster, California, since 2015.

Peninsula Clean Energy is a Community Choice Agency providing residents and businesses in San Mateo County with clean, renewable energy from resources like solar and wind, since 2016.




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