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Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration -- NRECA / DOE

NRECA is finishing up its four year project called SUNDA, which stands for Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.  SUNDA was funded by DOE SunShot (now SETO) and NRECA.  The goal of the project is to reduce barriers for co-ops who choose to deploy utility-scale, utility-owned PV projects.  There are more than 900 electric co-operatives in 47states that serve 75% of the land area of the US.  Seventeen co-ops partificpated in the project and installed more than 20 MW of  systems -- a goal that was considered somewhat risk five years ago when we first started devloping the project.  Other project partners included NRUCFC, Co-Bank, Federated Insurance and Power Secure Solar.  Sharing information and experiences is a primary co-op principle and helps make co-ops unique among US utilities.

The project has developed a broad range of materials including full engineering reference designs for six different variations of utility-scale PV systems, a simplified cost and financing screening tool, a set of three Utility PV Reference Manuals, a Community Solar Reference Guide, a full online training course in utility-scale PV and many other tools.  All of these materials are available at www.cooperative.com/sunda.

The slide shown here demonstrates the significant expansion of solar among cooperatives during the project.  Starting from the inside and moving out by year, the growth in various aspects of solar is dramatic.  While not all of this was directly due to the SUNDA project, it is agreed among those who participated and many other who followed the project that we have indeed met our goal of reducing barriers to implementation of solar at co-ops.  Thanks to the whole team and all the co-operatives who helped make this project a reality.

Douglas Danley's picture

Thank Douglas for the Post!

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Apr 25, 2018 11:37 pm GMT

Thanks for sharing your post as part of our earth day special issue.

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