May 17, 2017
NEWS RELEASE: Solar Siting Survey identifies substantial solar potential on built environments in California’s southern San Mateo County
Vast, untapped solar potential exists on commercial-scale roofs, parking lots, and parking structures
MENLO PARK, CA – The Clean Coalition recently released a Solar Siting Survey that identified 65 megawatts of commercial-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) potential in southern San Mateo County, California. The survey pinpointed the location and estimated project sizing for nearly 450 prospective solar sites that could host solar projects of at least 100 kilowatts (kW). This Solar Siting Survey was conducted as part of the Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC), a new initiative designed to streamline policies and showcase projects that facilitate local renewables, and guide efforts by policymakers and solar developers to expand the use of clean local energy in the region.
While other online solar assessment tools exist, Clean Coalition Solar Siting Surveys are unique in a few important ways. First, they offer far greater accuracy of technical siting potential by investigating site-specific factors, such as rooftop clutter and localized shading issues. Second, Solar Siting Surveys identify and evaluate non-traditional structures, such as parking lots and parking structures, which offer significant deployment opportunities. Lastly, Solar Siting Surveys assess the interconnection hosting capacity for each site, as the cost of interconnection is a critical determinant in assessing the economic viability of a prospective project.
“By identifying the most impactful solar siting opportunities within communities, Solar Siting Surveys provide policymakers, property owners, and developers with a quick summary of the vast potential for solar in communities; in addition to streamlining project development efforts that help reduce the cost of clean local energy,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition. “A key aspect of the Clean Coalition’s approach is evaluating likely interconnection costs for these prospective solar projects based on the condition of the grid to accommodate solar interconnections.”
The PAEC Solar Siting Survey focused exclusively on identifying commercial-scale siting opportunities for solar projects of at least 100 kW. Unlocking this important market offers a tremendous opportunity to expand cost-effective local renewable energy. Commercial-scale solar PV systems are significantly larger than residential systems, securing a lower installed cost per watt. And because these projects generate electricity close to where it is consumed, they avoid usage of the transmission grid and reduce the need for new transmission infrastructure, which is both inefficient and expensive, as indicated in the table below.
Commercial-scale solar is most efficiently developed as wholesale distributed generation (wholesale DG). Distributed generation refers to generating energy close to where it is consumed. Wholesale DG refers specifically to DG systems that connect to the local distribution grid and sell the electricity they produce to the local utility or Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) entity, and the energy generated is used to serve local energy demand.
“Wholesale DG provides an unparalleled set of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits,” added Mr. Lewis. “We will continue to collaborate with utilities and CCA programs to unleash this market segment through Solar Siting Surveys, pricing analyses, and program design.”
About the Clean Coalition
The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise. The Clean Coalition drives policy innovation to remove barriers to procurement and interconnection of distributed energy resources (DER) — such as local renewables, advanced inverters, demand response, and energy storage — and we establish market mechanisms that realize the full potential of integrating these solutions. In addition to being active in numerous proceedings before state and federal agencies throughout the United States, the Clean Coalition collaborates with utilities, community choice aggregation programs, municipalities, and other jurisdictions to create near-term deployment opportunities that prove the technical and economic viability of local renewables and other DER.
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This document was prepared as a result of work sponsored by the California Energy Commission. It does not necessarily represent the views of the Energy Commission, its employees, or the State of California. Neither the Commission, the State of California, nor the Commission’s employees, contractors, or subcontractors makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability for the information in this document; nor does any party represent that the use of this information will not infringe upon privately owned rights. This document has not been approved or disapproved by the Commission, nor has the Commission passed upon the accuracy of the information in this document.