eLab Accelerator 2016

Oregon Path to Solar+Storage

Project Objective

We propose to develop a pilot program for deploying solar+storage at several sites in Oregon to identify the benefits, challenges, and solutions to those challenges for customers and utilities.

Team Members

Joan Effinger, Project Manager for Emerging Technologies, Portland General Electric:
Jeni Hall, Project Manager - Solar Program, Energy Trust of Oregon:
Betsy Kauffman, Sector Lead - Renewable Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon:
Elaine Prause, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor, Oregon Public Utility Commission
Brian Spak, Manager, Strategy and Product Development, Portland General Electric

Project Description

Solar+storage has the potential to bring about a smarter, greener and more flexible electric grid along with more resilient buildings and communities. Our goal is to develop the elements of a joint utility-Energy Trust solar+storage pilot program that will generate lessons learned and information that can be used to support future growth of this technology in the state. Achieving this goal will require more understanding of the benefits solar+storage can create for customers and the utility, the challenges related to deployment and financing, and how technology can be incorporated into existing utility programs.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

At Accelerator the team began developing a structure for deploying customer-sited solar plus storage to identify its benefits, challenges, and solutions to these challenges for customers and utilities. Through open discussions the team also discovered that members had similar goals and aspirations for the future of solar plus storage in Oregon, and set a precedent for collaboration between Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland General Electric, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, and utility customers. The set of shared goals, collaborative atmosphere, and emerging solar plus storage structure allowed the team to craft a potential project to test key assumptions regarding solar plus storage, catalogue key stakeholders, identify funding sources, and articulate desired outcomes and metrics of the potential project success. The team is now exploring opportunities to demonstrate that there is a path to customer-sited storage that can lead to a power system that has resilience in key locations and broader system benefits. The team agreed to next steps during the coming year and commitments to action were made for the most important steps to ensure momentum is maintained post-Accelerator.