Approximately 1.1 billion people—or 14% of the world population—do not have access to electricity. Of those, more than 84% live in remote or rural areas. Microgrids can offer a viable solution to energy access and related challenges in areas not connected to the main electricity grid where it is too costly to extend the traditional grid.
NREL Conduit Blog
The NREL Conduit Blog discusses research relevant to state, local, and tribal governments. Contributing authors provide posts related to events, policy analysis, and decision support outcomes to inform the market in a credible and timely fashion.
Oct. 1, 2019
July 29, 2019
A floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) system is an emerging technology in which a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is placed directly on top of a body of water, as opposed to on land or on building rooftops.
June 25, 2019
In the United States, the average age of a full-sized transit bus in the United States is 7 years and the average retirement policy for 40-foot transit buses is 12 years. Therefore, many transit buses in the country are on track to be replaced. Conventional buses have substantial emissions and low levels of fuel efficiency.
Sept. 24, 2018
Although "it depends" is often the correct answer when asking whether energy storage makes sense in a particular context, utilities are exploring opportunities to incorporate community energy storage (CES) systems into the local grid. Utility-owned CES systems are a collection of two or more battery storage units connected to the low-level transformers that serve houses or small businesses.
Can Low-and-Moderate Income Households Play a Role in Realizing U.S. Rooftop Solar Technical Potential?
Sept. 12, 2018
Until recently, the technical potential—or the maximum generation potential from DPV systems—for LMI residential rooftops was not well understood. However, a recent NREL report, “Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States” explores this issue by evaluating DPV potential on residential rooftops by income levels.
Sept. 6, 2018
Last year, two Category 5 storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, ripped through the Caribbean within a two-week period, devastating island communities. Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) on September 6th, 2017, with the eye passing over St. Thomas and St. John. On September 20th, the eye of Hurricane Maria swept near St. Croix with maximum winds of 175 mph. The USVI estimate uninsured losses at close to $7.5 billion, including damages to roughly 80-90% of the power transmission and distribution systems and a number of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation systems.
July 31, 2018
Local objections to proposed solar photovoltaic (PV) installations sometimes include concerns that the modules will cause glare that could impact neighbors or aviation. Research on this subject demonstrates that PV modules exhibit less glare than windows and water.
July 2, 2018
For many households, utility bills represent a disproportionate share of their household expenses. The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) defines households as energy burdened if they spend more than 4% of their annual income on utility bills (CEO 2015). Based on research performed by the U.S. Census Bureau and compiled by the CEO, roughly 30% of households in Colorado are energy burdened (Figure 1), and many of these households have expenditures that exceed 10% of their income. State energy offices, such as the CEO, are exploring approaches to reduce energy burden across the U.S. NREL’s Solar Technical Assistance Team worked with the CEO to evaluate their innovative approach: a low-income community solar program.
June 19, 2018
If the solar industry reaches this DOE target, it could dramatically alter the energy market and present a future where residential PV becomes a standard, cost-effective home installation, versus a luxury or long-term investment. A recent NREL report models a set of pathways that the industry could follow to realize this future. The analysis focuses on two key markets for residential PV cost reduction: installing PV at time of roof replacement and installing PV at time of new construction. These two market segments were selected because each offers significant cost reduction opportunities while representing a 30 gigawatt (GW) annual market nationwide.
June 6, 2018
Sheep grazing in a field of solar panels is becoming an increasingly common sight as both farmers and solar developers are starting to experiment with co-locating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and agriculture. Small-scale, off-grid PV systems located on farm land was one of the first applications of solar power. The arrangement made sense for low-power agricultural needs in locations where running distribution lines was too expensive or not possible. More recently, the idea of solar systems on farm land has expanded to large-scale, grid-connected systems that have vegetation growing around and under the panels and/or livestock grazing on the same parcel of land.