I think by now, just about everyone in the renewable energy industry is familiar with the DSIRE database (and if you’re not, you’re living on a different planet). DSIRE has become a go-to source for the renewable industry whenever you need to quickly locate information about federal or state renewable energy policies and incentives. Personally, I find myself using DSIRE on at least a weekly basis. But sometimes I’m looking for a little more...
As a member of SEPA’s research team, I frequently receive questions seeking random utility solar factoids from our membership. About two and a half years ago, our team realized that collectively, we had a wealth of utility-related solar information. However, this information was not easily accessible to our membership - or our own staff, for that matter. Then, an idea was born: what if we pulled all of this information into one central location and made a “DSIRE-like” tool for our staff and members to access? It could include information about programs, projects, procurement documents, technical reports, resource plans - as close to everything utility and solar as we could get.
Yesterday, SEPA finally launched the Utility Solar Database (USD). The USD is the culmination of more than two years of effort and maybe a little carpal tunnel for a few SEPA interns. Here are a few examples of the ways you could use the USD...
1. You can log into the database and look up a utility’s solar profile and find answers to:
- What types of customer programs do they have?
- How many NEM systems are installed?
- Which utilities are investing in utility-owned solar?
- What about large, utility-scale projects?
2. Community solar is such a hot topic among utilities. I’m frequently asked which utilities have programs and if I can share information about those programs. While you’re still welcome to come directly to me with those questions, now you have another option with the USD. By clicking on the “Programs” category in the USD, you can very quickly sort through a list of categories, including Community Solar to create your own list - and better yet, grab a quick program overview with a link to the program’s webpage.
3. Are you a solar company looking to collaborate with utilities? You can use the USD to quickly identify the most solar-active utilities in the country. You can even check out a listing of active RFPs in our Procurement section, which includes quick links to RFP documents and contact information for the issuing utility.
The best part of the USD? It's SEPA’s newest member benefit. If you’re a SEPA member, anyone in your organization can access this tool at any time, free of charge! It’s like having a SEPA research staff person at your fingertips day or night.
If you’d like to learn more, join me next Thursday, December 12 at 2:00 PM EST for a webinar where I’ll demonstrate how to easily use this new tool and provide some tips and tricks on how it might be beneficial to your work.
Oh, and one last thing: I want to welcome all SEPA members to help our research team keep this new resource up-to-date and relevant (consider yourself SEPA’s newest research member...we have a team mascot). If you see any information that is dated, incorrect, or something that’s completely missing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll make sure our team gets it fixed.