One difficulty that solar PV and other clean-tech companies face when looking to expand their business into other states is that every state is different – different in their goals, policies, interconnection processes, technical standards, data availability, and other factors.
For solar PV companies like developers, EPCs (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction), and contractors, it’s about questions like: Just how easy is it to do business in the solar PV space in a given state? Is it going to be worth it for our solar PV company to invest in that state and be able to get a return?
Nothing replaces first-hand knowledge and talking to people with experience in a given state, but the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and Vote Solar have renewed their efforts to give the renewables industry insights into each state.
Through their Freeing the Grid joint initiative, the two organizations just released their latest state report cards, which they had started back in 2007. The report cards are aimed at clean energy stakeholders, as well as policy makers and others in the industry. They enable states to compare themselves to each other, as well as to industry best practices, in clean energy adoption and access to the grid.
In addition to evaluating the states based on 10 criteria, Freeing the Grid created three badges this year that states could earn for following industry best practices in Transparency, Energy Storage, and IEEE 1547-2018.
New Mexico was the only state to score an “A” in this year’s scorecards, the highest grade in terms of adoption of interconnection best practices. According to Freeing the Grid, that should lead to “streamlined review processes, reduced costs, and greater transparency.” Thirteen states scored an “F”.
Tim Taylor is the founder of Electric Distribution Academy, and all his courses are hosted exclusively on HeatSpring. Tim is the instructor for several courses focused on utility distribution, including “Interconnection of Utility-Scale Solar PV to Distribution” and “Understanding IEEE 1547-2018 – Interconnection Standard for DER on Distribution.