Solar Snapshot: 🏘️☀️NCSP Summit Shines Light on Community Solar’s Potential; First Platinum SolSmart Community

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Solar Energy Technologies Office

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What's Inside: Solar Snapshot, the newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), shares recent announcements; deadlines; upcoming events; and more.

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Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 20 seconds


What's New?

2024 National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Annual Summit

At the fourth annual NCSP Summit, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Jeff Marootian challenged the solar industry to triple community solar by the end of 2025. NCSP announced the goal in 2021 and estimated that powering 5 million households and deploying 20 gigawatts of community solar would create $1 billion in energy savings for subscribers.

jeff ncsp 2024

Jeff Marootian at the 2024 NCSP Summit challenges the solar industry to triple community solar deployment in three years.

The Technical Potential and Meaningful Benefits of Community Solar

In a new report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that if all technically viable community solar is deployed, it could serve more than 53 million households and over 300,000 businesses in the United States that cannot access rooftop solar. Register for a webinar about the report on February 28 at 3 p.m. ET.

New Model for Siting Community Solar 

NCSP announced a new model, developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, that identifies the most cost-effective ways community solar and storage can be sited on the grid, with a focus on minimizing interconnection costs and maximizing deployment. DOE seeks utilities and electric public utility commissions to participate in the pilot program for the Least-Cost Optimal Distribution Grid Expansion (LODGE) model. For more information about the LODGE model and pilot program, register for a webinar on March 7 at 11 a.m. ET.

Join the New Equitable Solar Communities of Practice

NCSP announced the organizations chosen to lead five communities of practice that will work to identify resource gaps, support the development and dissemination of best practices and resources, and identify and propose new resources, tools, and technical assistance offerings needed to scale equitable solar. Interested in supporting the expansion of equitable benefits in solar adoption? Complete the program interest form today.


Upcoming Deadlines

Don't forget to participate in these funding opportunities, prizes, and solicitations:


Some Light 🌞 Reading

Students from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) Engage in Solar Research and Professional Development

Twenty students from SETO’s Solar Technology Research Program (STRP) with the MSI STEM Research and Development Consortium (MSRDC) participated in the first STRP Research Trainee Meeting at the University of the District of Columbia. Participants networked, explored career options, and engaged in groundbreaking research in solar technology and engineering.

msrdc event

Learn About Solar Systems Integration Research at SETO

Hear from members of SETO’s systems integration team in this new video as they explain the important research that they support to enable solar grid integration while ensuring the reliability, resilience, and security of the electric power system.

SI Video

SETO’s systems integration research supports technologies and solutions that enable solar grid integration while ensuring the reliability, resilience, and security of the electric power system.

First-Ever SolSmart Platinum Designation

Fremont, California became the first local government to earn the SolSmart Platinum designation for prioritizing solar energy deployment, including adopting the Solar Automated Permit Processing+ (SolarAPP+) platform to automate residential solar permitting.

SolSmart Platinum

Making Solar Work for Everybody—Helping Envision a More Just Energy System

Solar energy deployment is rapidly expanding, creating opportunities for solar energy to benefit communities equitably. Find out more about some of the SETO-funded projects helping more communities benefit from solar energy.

New Prize Supports Early-Stage Community Energy Planning

DOE just launched the $5 million Solutions for Lasting, Viable Energy Infrastructure Technologies (SOLVE IT) Prize, which aims to support communities by providing financial support for identifying and planning innovative clean energy solutions. Apply by April 12.

Researchers Release Solar Power Data Software to Increase Clean Energy Generation

Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have published a software tool that sorts through data to reveal what goes on with solar panels on cloudy and sunny days.


Products & Publications


Upcoming Events

Supercritical CO2 (sCO2) Power Cycles Symposium

February 26-29 | San Antonio, TX
Join SETO’s Dr. Matt Bauer who will be presenting keynote remarks about sCO2 power cycles for concentrating solar-thermal power.

2024 PV Reliability Workshop

February 27-29 | Lakewood, CO
Participate in NREL’s annual PV Reliability Workshop where experts convene to discuss the latest findings in PV reliability. Submit your presentation and register to attend.

Webinar: Achieving Scale ­– Community Technical Potential and Meaningful Benefits in the United States

February 28 | 3 p.m. ET | Virtual
Register for NREL’s webinar about the new SETO-funded report, “Technical Potential and Meaningful Benefits of Community Solar in the United States.” Researchers will describe the methodology and results from this study on the technical potential of community solar and associated meaningful benefits.

Systems Integration Webinar

February 28 | 3 p.m. ET | Virtual
The SETO systems integration team’s monthly webinar will focus on the analysis of a new hybrid PV plant.

PV Circularity Workshop

March 3-6 | Lakewood, CO
The 2024 PV Circularity Workshop will foster research and collaboration on decarbonizing the global PV industry. Experts will convene at NREL to discuss how to increase the sustainability of this growing industry.

Webinar: Interconnection Resources for Utilities and Regulatory Commissions

March 7 | 11 a.m. ET | Virtual
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is hosting a webinar about the LODGE Model and the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) initiative, both of which are tools for improving interconnection and offering assistance throughout the process.

Virtual Tutorial Series: Open-source Tools & Open-access Solar Data

March 2024 | 3 p.m. ET | Virtual

Join SETO and NREL for their three-part tutorial series about open-source tools and open-access solar data.

  • Part 1: Introduction to the Solar Data Bounty Prize and Data Sets | March 13 – This session will include an introduction to the Solar Data Bounty Prize and the data sets acquired through the prize. It will include a demonstration on how to access the data and a look ahead at lab tools.
  • Part 2: Analytics and Quality Tools | March 19 – Some data obtained from the Solar Data Bounty Prize will be evaluated in demonstrations with PVAnalytics, RdTools, and solar data tools.
  • Part 3: Modeling Tools | March 21 – This session will demonstrate the use of data obtained from the Solar Data Bounty Prize with modeling tools like pvlib-python and the system advisor model (SAM).

In Case You Missed It

Webinar: Concentrating Solar Receivers and Reactors


Learn more about SETO or DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.