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Business Models, Economics, and Regulatory Considerations

Increasing distributed energy resource (DER) penetrations are fostering new business models, raising new regulatory considerations, and driving economic reassessment of novel DER integration strategies.

The growing role of DERs in the electricity system is leading to a shift in business models and regulations for electric utilities. These entities are evolving in any number of ways, from organizational structures and regulatory frameworks to new customer offerings and rate designs.

In response to changing market and regulatory dynamics, novel approaches for integrating variable resources are becoming economically feasible. Additionally, utility innovation and state reforms are both accelerating as DERs become more mainstream. These actions aim to optimize the value of DERs to the grid.

Topics addressed in this area include:

  • Utility and third-party DER program design and business model approaches
  • The economic implications of DERs depending on circumstance (e.g., grid contexts, technology mixes, and deployment approaches)
  • Cost-benefit analysis methodologies as well as utility fixed- and variable-cost trends
  • Regulatory and policy trends
  • DER transactional pricing and rate structures.


Overcoming Challenges for DER Interconnection – Spotlight on Energy Storage, NREL Presentation (2019)

An Overview of Distributed Energy Resource Interconnection: Current Practices and Emerging Solutions, NREL Technical Report (2019)

The Economic Impact of Real Power Management of Solar Photovoltaic Systems, EPRI Report (2019)

Review of Interconnection Practices and Costs in the Western States, NREL Technical Report (2018)

Employing Active Power Curtailment of Distribution-Connected Solar Photovoltaics: Economic and Regulatory Considerations, EPRI Report (2017)

Economic Study of Utility-Administered Solar Programs: Soft Costs, Community Solar, and Tax Normalization Considerations, NREL Technical Report (2016)

Lessons Learned: Community Solar for Municipal Utilities, NREL Brochure (2016)

Utility Regulatory and Business Model Reforms for Addressing the Financial Impacts of Distributed Solar on Utilities, NREL Technical Report (2016)

Time and Locational Value of DER: Methods and Applications, EPRI Report (2016)

Changing Utility Cost Pathways amid Rising Deployment of Distributed Energy Resources, EPRI Report (2016)


Date Presenters Presentation
May 2, 2019 Austin Energy, NREL, Southern California Edison

DER Aggregation: Lessons Learned from Utility-Led Pilot Programs
A recording of the webinar is available. 
A transcript of the webinar is also available.

May 18, 2017 Trico Electric Cooperative, Groton Utilities

Distributed Solar for Small Utilities
A recording of the webinar is available.
A transcript of the webinar is also available.

April 5, 2017 City University of New York, Xcel Energy Energy Storage Permitting, Interconnection and Analysis
A recording of the webinar is available.
December 8, 2016 Pasadena Water and Power, Fremont Dept. of Utilities, NREL

Municipal Utilities Exploring Solar Options for Communities
A recording of the webinar is available.

August 17, 2016 PG&E, National Grid, ERCOT What's a Watt Worth?
A recording of the webinar is available.
January 21, 2016 APS, TEP Utility Participation in the Rooftop Solar PV Market
A recording of the webinar is available.
A transcript of the webinar is also available.

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