CALSSA: These five barriers keep solar + storage from max potential as a grid resource


The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) released a white paper detailing barriers that prevent customer-sited solar and storage from maximizing its potential as a grid resource. The white paper describes opportunities for distributed resources to provide value to the electric grid and the environment, along with program improvements that are needed to encourage customer investment.

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“California policy makers have had great intentions to enable distributed resources to capture the additional value they can bring to the grid, but pushing past some of the technical challenges has been slow going,” said white paper author Scott Murtishaw.

Customer-sited resources like solar and energy storage can provide numerous values to the electric grid including energy, system capacity, local generation and distribution capacity, voltage support, and other ancillary services. To provide those services, customer-sited resources need access to the right programs and tariffs.

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The CALSSA white paper, “Barriers to Maximizing the Value of Behind-the-Meter Distributed Energy Resources,” documents five main categories of barriers affecting the participation of customer-sited resources in utility-led solicitations and programs as well as demand response products overseen by the California Independent System Operation (CAISO):

1. Program Participation Exclusions in Utility Solicitations
2. Prohibitions on Participating in Multiple Utility Programs
3. Dual Participation Limits in Demand Response Programs
4. Capacity Credit Limitations and Availability Requirements in Demand Response Programs
5. Lack of Clarity in Demonstrating Incrementality vis-à-vis DER Adoption Forecasts

Within each of these categories, the white paper discusses specific barriers and presents solutions that the CAISO and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) should consider to resolve these barriers quickly and efficiently.

“Every year that the CAISO and CPUC wait to develop new program rules to overcome the barriers we’ve identified, California leaves millions of dollars a year of foregone grid value on the table,” added Murtishaw. “We encourage the CPUC and CAISO to act expeditiously on the recommendations in our white paper to unlock the full value of customer-sited energy resources.”

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