SGIP, SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics, and NREL Awarded Nearly $4 Million in Federal Funds to Boost Solar Bankability | SEPA Skip to content

SGIP, SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics, and NREL Awarded Nearly $4 Million in Federal Funds to Boost Solar Bankability

Four organizations will lead Energy Department’s Orange Button℠ initiative and carve path to industry-wide solar data standards

WAKEFIELD, Mass., April 15, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative selected four organizations – SGIP, SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) – to lead the Orange Button initiative and to streamline the way the solar industry establishes and manages data. In order to boost solar bankability, the four organizations will work together to tackle the challenge of creating a widely adoptable, unified data standard for the solar industry.

The Orange Button℠ initiative aims to simplify and standardize solar data so that state and local governments, customers, utilities, financiers, solar companies, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders can easily exchange quality data. Because access to high quality data affects more than half the total price of a residential PV system, a robust data infrastructure for the solar industry is needed to enable rapid and seamless data exchanges between producers and consumers of solar data. By creating solar data standards, open marketplaces, and tools for accessing data by the private sector, Orange Button aims to reduce transaction inefficiencies and improve market transparency in a self-sustaining manner.

In order to complete this work, the four Orange Button awardees will collaborate to achieve the program’s overall goals. Teams will work in tandem, collaborating and exchanging deliverables across the three strategic phases of the Orange Button initiative:

  • Convene – SGIP will kick off Orange Button by convening stakeholders and managing working groups that will define the requirements of an industry-wide solar data exchange and integrate data standards across the life cycle of a solar project.
  • Define – SunSpec Alliance will build on the results from the convening stage of the project by formulating data taxonomies, interoperability standards, and codes of conduct. This phase will establish an open, commercially embraced solar data exchange system comprised of uniform data taxonomy, information models, application program interfaces, compliance test suite, and reference software. This new solar data exchange program will enable the free flow of data between commercial software products that address all aspects of the solar asset lifecycle.
  • Integrate – The kWh Analytics team will develop a data format translation tool which will instantly translate original data formats into the data standards, significantly reducing the effort and time required from data standards adopters. Meanwhile, the NREL will develop a platform to enable data sharing for the solar ecosystem, community, and marketplace, in support of consensus-based data standards.

“This project will directly engage over 60% of the solar industry and result in broadly applicable, ready-to-implement solutions for solar data users,” confirmed Aaron Smallwood, SGIP Director of Technology Operations.

SunShot InitiativeAbout the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at

About the SunSpec Alliance

The SunSpec Alliance is a trade alliance of more than 70 solar and storage distributed energy industry participants, together pursuing information standards to enable “plug & play” system interoperability. SunSpec standards address operational aspects of solar PV power and energy storage plants on the smart grid—including residential, commercial, and utility-scale systems—thus reducing cost, promoting technology innovation, and accelerating industry growth. For more Information visit

About kWh Analytics

kWh Analytics is the industry leader in risk management software for solar energy investments, a $500B asset class growing at 20% per year. Our software, HelioStats, manages project-level data from more than 50,000 solar power projects in the United States, creating the industry’s largest independent database of solar asset performance. We aim to strengthen the solar industry by increasing transparency, improving investment decision-making, and enabling efficient risk management. For more information, visit

About National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. Visit NREL online at

About SGIP

SGIP is an industry consortium representing a cross-section of the energy ecosystem focusing on accelerating grid modernization and the energy Internet of Things through policy, education, and promotion of interoperability and standards to empower customers and enable a sustainable energy future. Our members are utilities, vendors, investment institutions, industry associations, regulators, government entities, national labs, services providers, and universities. A nonprofit organization, we drive change through a consensus process. Visit

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