Solar Deployment and Market Transformation
NREL enables faster, easier, and less expensive solar installations by applying our expertise and knowledge to projects that addresses challenges, inefficiencies, and market barriers to solar technology deployment.
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Our technical experts work with policymakers, program administrators, regulators, utilities, transmission organizations, technology developers, financial organizations, and insurance companies to help break down barriers to solar technology deployment by:
- Developing and delivering policy and market design trainings
- Assisting with technical policy and regulation code analysis
- Studying grid impact, transmission utilization, and expansion
- Collecting project finance data
- Providing financial tools for analyzing financial mechanisms and models.
Solar Project Examples
NREL collaborates with public and private market players on solar project design, analysis, and financing. Some example projects are listed below.
Policy Research and Technical Assistance
NREL seeks to inform critical solar policy decisions at the state, local, and federal levels through strong analytic research and by providing pertinent information to necessary stakeholders. Through the Solar Technical Assistance Team, NREL provides foundational, unbiased, and in-depth research to help policymakers and policy implementers understand issues affecting the solar community and the impacts of various policies.
Soft Cost Modeling
By providing transparent and credible information on non-hardware Balance of System (BOS) costs—which represent a significant portion of the total installed price of a solar energy system—NREL is working to improve cost forecasting accuracy and gain a better understanding of how BOS costs can decline to achieve low-cost targets set by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot Initiative.
Solar Financing Mechanisms
Working with finance and solar industry professionals, NREL analyzes solar financing data to enable common foundational comprehension of the securitization of photovoltaic (PV) systems, and develops datasets to understand the relevant risks. Learn more about NREL's renewable energy financing work.
Solar Technology Demonstrations
NREL supports solar technology demonstration projects by providing measurement and verification services for emerging solar electric technologies. To showcase successes, NREL follows the progress of installations, measures system performance, and develops case studies.
NREL plays an active role in the DOE SunShot Initiative, which strives to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. The SunShot Initiative drives research, manufacturing, and market solutions to make the abundant solar energy resources in the United States more affordable and accessible for Americans by funding solar projects in PV, concentrating solar power, BOS cost reduction, and systems integration.
Training and Education
NREL develops a variety of training and education services and products to advance the adoption of solar technologies in the market. In the past, NREL has assisted the Solar Instructor Training Network by contributing to metrics development for its training program, showing the impact of specific goals designed to meet the training needs of the labor market.
U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
NREL provides the organizational and technical support for the Solar Decathlon, an international collegiate competition to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses. During each competition cycle, more than 50 NREL employees work on this award-winning event. Learn more about the Solar Decathlon.
For more information on NREL's solar deployment and market transformation work, contact Sarah Truitt.
System Advisor Model (SAM)
Create renewable energy project predictions based on installation costs, operating costs, and other system parameters.
Access geospatial data that can be used for siting utility-scale solar power plants, as well as information about land ownership, solar resource, and data that can be used to assess solar development potential.
Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS)
Analyze electric deployment issues related to renewable energy technologies like cost and accessibility of energy transmission, quality of renewable resources and resource loads, and power uncertainties.
Open PV Project
A collaborative effort among government, industry, and the public to compile a comprehensive database of PV installation data for the United States, providing PV system price and installed capacity data at the state level.
Create hour-by-hour performance simulations that provide estimated monthly and annual energy production in kilowatts and energy value.