2016 Year-In-Review Research Highlights | SEPA Skip to content

2016 Year-In-Review Research Highlights

In what has been a banner year for SEPA research, we have continued to deliver high quality and relevant content for our members in 2016. As part of our new name and mission, we successfully expanded the scope of SEPA’s content beyond solar to include other distributed energy resources, while at the same time staying true to our roots.

SEPA published a total of 20 reports and briefs this year and introduced two new series of papers, the Beyond the Meter series and the 51st State Perspectives series. We also introduced a new line of research products — known as Member Briefs — intended to provide our members with monthly executive briefings on a wide range of topics, from the latest in Virtual Power Plants to Utility Battery Storage to Rate Reform.

We know that no man lives on an island and we rely heavily on our partners to produce the best possible content. We want to thank our research partners this year, Black & Veatch, Chadbourne & Parke LLP, the Electric Power Research Institute, High Performance PV, Nexant, Pacific Consulting Group, Recurrent Energy, ScottMadden, and the Shelton Group, for their significant contributions to this body of work. Without their time and expertise, we would not have been able to publish the same volume and quality of work.

While all of our research is important, here are a few of the top highlights:

  • As part of the culmination of a three-year long crowdsourcing effort, we published a 51st State capstone paper, Blueprints for Electricity Market Reform, which identified four doctrines as the foundation for stakeholder agreement on the new Utility of the Future.
  • Continuing to build on our subject matter expertise, SEPA published three pieces on community solar, the highlight of which was the result of a nationwide survey funded by the U.S. Department of Energy designed to understand what customers want from a community solar program.
  • Our most popular and widely cited annual report, the Utility Solar Market Snapshot, achieved the highest level of utility survey participation to date, largely due to greater widespread solar penetration across the country. As we prepare to undertake our next utility survey in January, we are excited to announce the survey will expand to include three new topic areas – demand response, energy storage, and advanced metering infrastructure, as well as capturing our traditional solar data.
  • Another popular report this year, Addressing the Locational Valuation Challenge for Distributed Energy Resources, was SEPA’s first foray into the DER valuation debate. This report addressed the growing need to define a common metric for assessing the distribution capacity deferral value provided by DERs so their individual values can be stacked and combined.
  • This year, SEPA published on three new research topics, reflecting our expanded mission — electric vehicles, microgrids, and solar asset management. We will cover these, and other new topics, for our members in the coming year.
  • This year, we expanded the Utility Solar Database to include energy storage projects, and continued to update and build-out our research on utility projects and initiatives. In 2017 we will be announcing several new additions to the database that will continue to enhance the user experience and provide new resources to our members.
  • As part of a larger organization-wide effort, this year SEPA made great strides to enhance the user experience to download and access our research content. All of our reports for the past eight years are now located in an easy-to-use Resource Library accessible to both members and the general public. In addition to better search functionality, we have also segmented our content to best match your interests and needs. Once you login to the Resource Library you can access the complete set of member-only content without entering your credentials again. Through a simple checkout process, you can download as many reports as you’d like that will be delivered directly to your inbox.

As expansive as 2016 was, we have even more ideas for research from you – our members. We continue to rely on you to provide us with groundbreaking ideas, material, case studies, and expertise. In the coming year we will be organizing new working groups to guide new research, provide external review, and serve as a resource for other teams across the organization. If you are interested in more information about these working groups, please contact Jenny Senff. If you have research ideas, or would like to explore research partnership opportunities with SEPA, please contact Erika Myers.

Thanks again for your ongoing support. We look forward to continue working for you in the new year!