Executive Insight, Solar, T&D, Transmission

DOE awards NRECA $3.6 million for solar photovoltaic deployment

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) signed a cooperative agreement for a multi-state 23 MW solar installation research project that seeks to identify and address barriers to photovoltaic (PV) deployment at cooperatives.

The DOE is providing $3.6 million, matched by a $1.2 million cost share from NRECA, the National Rural Utility Cooperative Finance Corp., Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, PowerSecure International and fifteen participating cooperatives.

As it stands now, a cooperative must start from scratch in deploying solar PV of more than 1 MW. For this project, co-ops will explore how standardization can help bring down the “soft” costs — labor, procurement, supply chain and other costs — of PV installations and also reduce uncertainty about the effects of these installations on a system.

Working with 15 co-ops that are planning from 250 kW to 5 MW of solar PV, NRECA will analyze the business-side of these deployments and develop “PV system packages” consisting of standardized, optimized and scalable technical designs for 250 kW, 500 kW and 1 MW systems.

Cooperative partners are:

Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Calif.)

Brunswick Electric Membership Corp. (N.C.)

Central Electric Power Cooperative (S.C.)

CoServ Electric (Texas)

Eau Claire Energy Cooperative (Wis.)

Great River Energy (Minn.)

Green Power EMC (Ga.)

Maquoketa Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (Iowa)

Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative (N.Y.)

Owen Electric Cooperative

Pedernales Electric Cooperative (Texas)

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (Calif.)

Sandhills Utility Services, LLC (N.C.)

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Assn. (Colo.)

Vermont Electric Cooperative (Vt.)