Solar Energy Innovation Network Helps City of Orlando Evaluate Solar and Solar-Plus-Storage Potential for Affordability and Improved Grid Reliability
In partnership with OUC and UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, Orlando is one of nine teams selected for this innovative, collaborative research effort
April 10, 2018 – ORLANDO, FL – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Orlando is one of nine teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. Participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network will assess cost-effective options and pathways to meet the city’s commitment to utilize 100 percent renewable energy for municipal operations by 2030 and citywide by 2050.
“Cities are the front lines, where leading an effort like this can not only help to improve the health of our residents but also help preserve natural resources, ensure environmental protection, create new jobs in the growing clean energy industry and drive even more economic growth to our region,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We’re committed to taking the steps necessary to make our City resilient and we are proud to have partners on both the local and national level to support these efforts.”
The City of Orlando has partnered with Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Florida Solar Energy Center as part of the initiative to develop new research and pilot case studies that will utilize solar photovoltaic and energy storage technologies on municipal properties with the intent of broader replication.
“Our commitment to renewable energy is evident in all we do, including our recent announcement of a seven-fold increase in solar energy,” said Linda Ferrone, OUC Vice President of Strategy, Sustainability & Emerging Technologies. “We’re excited to collaborate with the City of Orlando and the University of Central Florida to create innovative energy solutions for our community while maintaining our outstanding record of reliability.”
“We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the City of Orlando to make our community a national model for renewable energy and sustainable living,” said Elizabeth Klonoff, Vice President for Research and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Central Florida. “Our researchers are already leaders in this field and I can’t think of a better place to implement some of our cutting-edge research than our own hometown.”
Through Orlando’s participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network, the solutions developed and demonstrated through the project will serve as a blueprint and provide model best practices for other communities to implement and derive benefit.
“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,” said Kristen Ardani, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL.
The team’s participation in the program will include financial, analytical and facilitation support services to help identify barriers and create innovative solutions to help Orlando ensure a reliable and resilient plan to power the future.
NREL is operating the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. NREL pursues fundamental research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to transform the way we use energy.