Solar Technical Assistance Team Profile: Kimberly Peterson
December 03, 2014 by Sherry Stout
Kimberly Peterson, a senior engineer in NREL's Market Partnerships & Tools group in the lab's Integrated Applications Center, answers six questions about her work.
What are your primary research interests?
I am most interested in strategic energy decision making at the local level, and the emerging role of energy storage in enabling wide-scale use of clean energy technologies.
What has been your favorite project since coming to NREL?
So far, my favorite project is the Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT). Being on the team has given me the opportunity to help regulatory jurisdictions address barriers to solar deployment and reap the benefits of solar energy in real time.
What is the most interesting issue in solar for you right now?
I think the transformation of the electricity market into a more participatory model is exciting. Consumers are now able to access more clean energy options, produce electricity with their own home system, and make more informed energy decisions via state-of-the-art technology.
What opportunities do you see for solar?
As more solar is installed across the country, solar can be positioned as a mainstream energy source, instead of being seen as an “alternative” technology or one that needs demonstration. It works now and can be applied in many contexts—from utility-scale planning to small distributed settings.
What challenges do you see for the solar industry?
I think that the industry needs to continue to work at finding the best ways to integrate solar energy into the grid. The grid is complex and doesn’t behave the same way everywhere. So, as more and more solar comes online, figuring out the best sites and the most appropriate integration technologies is an evolving issue.
What are your non-work interests/activities?
I love planning trips and spending time with my son and dogs in the great outdoors of my adopted state of Colorado. I also enjoy all kinds of water sports and activities, although those can be challenging to pursue here.