PALO ALTO, Calif. (March 23, 2021) — The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will receive a $2 million contract from the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers.

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) selected EPRI to examine how residential and commercial utility customers make decisions related to the co-adoption of solar power with other technologies, such as energy storage and electric vehicles (EVs). This research will 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 for co-adopting solar photovoltaics with energy storage and/or EVs. The interplay among these three distributed energy resource (DER) technologies can provide consumers and businesses new flexibility in the way they use energy. Without a clearer understanding of the customer motivations for owning and operating multiple DERs, utilities may not fully anticipate and prepare for the grid impacts of DER co-adoption.

“With this research, EPRI will understand, and be able to communicate to utilities, customer DER co-adoption preferences, motivations, and barriers,” said Rob Chapman, Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery and Customer Solutions at EPRI. “Understanding these behaviors will better prepare the electric industry as consumers and utilities move towards a clean energy future.”

This project will help enhance long-term forecasting tools, such as NREL’s open source dGen adoption model,” said Ben Sigrin, Researcher in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at NREL. “We anticipate the industry benefiting from tools that can model the impact of complex customer decision making related to co-adoption, instead of relying on tools that model customer adoption of individual technologies in silos.”

EPRI was selected as a part of the SETO Fiscal Year 2020 funding program, an effort to advance research and development projects that will lower solar electricity costs, increase the competitiveness of American solar manufacturing and businesses, improve the reliability and resilience of the grid, and expand solar to new applications. EPRI is one of several projects examining how the flow of solar information can reduce the non-hardware costs of solar energy. By finding ways to efficiently deliver knowledge to key stakeholders’ decisions can be made more quickly and effectively.

EPRI has launched this three-year project to identify customer DER co-adoption preferences. To get involved, visit:https://www.epri.com/research/products/000000003002020575.