Treatment of Solar Generation in Electric Utility Resource Planning.
Sterling, J.; McLaren, J.; Taylor, M.; Cory, K.
Today's utility planners have a different market and economic context than their predecessors, including planning for the growth of renewable energy. State and federal support policies, solar photovoltaic (PV) price declines, and the introduction of new business models for solar PV 'ownership' are leading to increasing interest in solar technologies (especially PV); however, solar introduces myriad new variables into the utility resource planning decision. Most, but not all, utility planners have less experience analyzing solar than conventional generation as part of capacity planning, portfolio evaluation, and resource procurement decisions. To begin to build this knowledge, utility staff expressed interest in one effort: utility exchanges regarding data, methods, challenges, and solutions for incorporating solar in the planning process. Through interviews and a questionnaire, this report aims to begin this exchange of information and capture utility-provided information about: 1) how various utilities approach long-range resource planning; 2) methods and tools utilities use to conduct resource planning; and, 3) how solar technologies are considered in the resource planning process.