OPC Joins US Research Project on Expanding Solar Power in DC and Nationwide

Press Release

April 11, 2018

OPC Selected to Join Multistate Research Project to Meet the Challenges of Expanding Solar Power in the District & Nationwide


Washington, D.C. – DC People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia to participate in a multistate initiative to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. In joining the Solar Energy Innovation Network, OPC will receive financial, analytical and facilitation support as the Office anticipates and addresses new challenges and opportunities stemming from solar energy and other distributed energy technologies. 

The initiative is led by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit coalition of public and private agencies working together to advance clean energy. OPC will collaborate with CESA, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Washington on research efforts to identify locations for distributed energy resources (DER) that provide benefits to the grid.

“I am proud OPC has been chosen to participate in this innovative project, which will help us identify cost-effective ways to expand solar and distributed energy resources in the District and how the District can meet its solar energy generation commitment,” says People’s Counsel Mattavous-Frye. “Every step my office takes toward a clean and sustainable District of Columbia will open opportunities for our residents to enjoy affordable electricity.”  

Distributed solar and other distributed energy resources are playing an increasingly important role in electricity systems across the United States. OPC’s participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network will help decipher the impact on DC ratepayers of rooftop solar deployment and community solar projects in reaching the District’s solar deployment targets. The project also will bolster OPC’s critical review of distributed energy resources proceedings before the DC Public Service Commission.

The People’s Counsel has advanced the expansion of renewable energy in the District and consumer education and understanding of the related issues by creating OPC’s first Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Section (EES).  EES also participates in regulatory proceedings involving renewable resources on the regional and federal levels. 

“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to use solar power to improve the future of grid security and reliability in their communities,” says Kristen Ardani, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL.

“When distributed energy is deployed optimally, it can offer benefits to the customer, to the grid, and to the other ratepayers,” adds CESA Executive Director Warren Leon. “Well-sited DER can provide resiliency benefits, reduce grid congestion, and help defer or avoid distribution system upgrade costs.”

The District’s multistate team is one of nine selected to join the Solar Energy Innovation Network. The solutions developed and demonstrated by the teams will serve as a blueprint for other communities across the country.