ASTI Newsletter | June 2014 Edition| By Thomas Yurysta
As the owners and operators of the electric grid, utilities control the playing field on which solar installations happen. Innovative utilities recognize the tremendous opportunity this presents and are taking advantage of solar to diversify their resource base, connect with customers, and create new business opportunities. To help utilities navigate this new space, Optony has teamed up with the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) to provide free technical assistance directly to utility staff under the American Solar Transformation Initiative.
SEPA is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolio. Founded in 1992, SEPA has over 20 years of experience working with the electric utilities and the solar industry, including activities such as publishing research reports, hosting national utility-focused events, and providing one-on-one counseling and peer matching services. SEPA’s membership is comprised of over 900 electric utilities, solar companies and other entities with an interest in solar electricity.
SEPA’s annual Utility Solar Conference in April provided a platform to kickstart the partnership, with over 70 utilities from across the country in attendance. At this conference, SEPA and Optony jointly presented a session titled “How to Make Steady Progress Toward Becoming a Solar-Ready Utility”. Designed for utilities new to the solar game, this session described early actions utilities could take to prepare themselves for increasing levels of distributed generation.
At the conference, utilities had the opportunity to sign up for the Solar Roadmap, which highlights utility industry best practices to take advantage of the emerging distributed generation market. The customized platform is designed to help utilities navigate new issues such as community solar program design, online solar mapping tools, updated billing systems, and even exploring alternatives to net metering such as value-of-solar rate tariffs. Participants also receive the benefit of direct technical assistance for utility staff to help implement these recommendations, which were developed with SEPA’s help.
Interested utilities are invited to contact the ASTI team to receive a free assessment and participate in this program. In the meantime, you can visit the Solar Roadmap website to learn more or read a success story from a previous utility participant.