EPRI nets $2m to study why people choose solar energy

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The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) netted a $2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers.

The DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office tapped EPRI to look into how residential and commercial utility customers make decisions related to the co-adoption of solar power with other distributed energy resource (DER) technologies, such as energy storage and electric vehicles. The research is expected to help utilities determine future needs of the electric grid.

In collaboration with the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, EPRI will assess residential and commercial customer preferences, influences, and decision-making. The play among these distributed energy resource technologies can provide consumers and businesses new flexibility in the way they use energy.

The researchers said that without a clearer understanding of customer motivations for owning and operating multiple DERs, utilities may not fully anticipate and prepare for the grid impacts of DER co-adoption.

The project is also expected to aid long-term forecasting tools, such as NREL’s open-source dGen adoption model.

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