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Midscale Commercial Solar Market

NREL experts are providing analysis and technical assistance to expand the midscale solar market. The midscale market for solar photovoltaics, loosely defined as behind-the-meter systems between 100 kilowatts (kW) and 2 megawatts, has grown more slowly than other photovoltaic (PV) market segments in recent years.

NREL offers no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to go solar and publishes reports, fact sheets, presentations, and brochures aimed to help universities implement solar projects.


In providing analysis, NREL publishes a number of key reports.

Expanding Midscale Solar: Examining the Economic Potential, Barriers, and Opportunities at Offices, Hotels, Warehouses, and Universities
Authors: Lori Bird, Pieter Gagnon, and Jenny Heeter

At 2015 average (50–100 kW) installed prices ($3.20/WDC), the techno-economic potential for the office, hotel, and warehouse segments is substantial, at 44 gigawatts (GW), with about half of that capacity coming from offices (22 GW). With further price declines on par with the 2020 targets of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, the techno-economic potential for these three segments could reach more than 100 GW. An additional 3.7 GW at universities would be "high value"—capacity whose average bill savings would exceed 10¢ per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

Midmarket Solar Policies in the United States: A Guide for Midsized Solar Customers
Authors: Tian Tian, Chang Liu, Eric O'Shaughnessy, Shivani Mathur, Alison Holm, and John Miller

The first part of this guide introduces the key solar policies necessary for policy-based decision-making, which involves using knowledge of a solar policy to improve project economics and efficiency. Policies that could result in policy-based decisions include interconnection standards, net metering, user fees, incentives, and third-party ownership policies. The goal of this section is to equip prospective customers and project developers with the tools necessary to understand and use solar policies in a dynamic policy environment. The second part of this guide provides a complete, state-by-state inventory of midmarket solar policies for potential customers and developers to use as reference when making policy-based decisions.

Technical Assistance

NREL offers no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to implement solar projects. Supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot initiative, the program is designed to increase PV systems at universities, engage stakeholders to develop deployment solutions, and empower decision makers.