The US DoE has announced the selection of four organisations that will lead the Orange Button initiative aimed at streamlining the way the solar industry manages data.The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were the organisations chosen and mandated to boost the bankability of solar, through the creation of a widely adoptable, unified data standard for the solar industry.
The SunSpec Alliance is a trade alliance bringing together over 70 solar + storage distributed energy participants, whose standards addresses operational aspects of solar PV power and energy storage plants on the smart grid. This includes residential, commercial and utility-scale systems.
kWh Analytics is an independent provider of solar PV asset performance data and risk analytics to institutional investors and solar industry.
According to the Energy Harvesting Journal, the DoE led Orange Button initiative has the overall aim to simplify and standardise solar data, so that state and local governments, customers, utilities, financiers, solar companies, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders can easily exchange data.
The Journal adds that a “robust data infrastructure for the solar industry is needed to enable rapid and seamless data exchanges between producers and consumers of solar data.”
The open solar data standard is believed to reduce transaction inefficiencies and improve market transparency in a self-sustaining way.
Orange Button key objectives
[quote] The SGIP, SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics and NREL have three primary objectives to convene, define and integrate solar data standards, open marketplaces, and tools for accessing data by the private sector.
The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel is tasked with convening stakeholders and manage working groups, that will define the requirements of an industry-wide solar data exchange and integrate data standards across the entire lifecycle of a solar project.
The SunSpec Alliance will use the results of the SGIP’s activities in the convening stage of the project to formulate data taxonomies, interoperability standards, as well as codes of conduct. The solar data exchange programme will permit the free flow of data between commercial software that addresses all facets of the solar asset lifecycle, notes the Energy Harvesting Journal.
kWh Analytics will be responsible for developing a data format translation tool, that will instantly translate original data formats into the data standards, which is expected will significantly decrease the effort and time required from data standards adopters.
The DoE’s NREL will develop a platform to enable data sharing for the solar ecosystem, community and marketplace, supporting consensus-based industry data standards.
Aaron Smallwood, SGIP director of Technology Operations, was reported as saying: “This project will directly engage over 60% of the solar industry and result in broadly applicable, ready-to-implement solutions for solar data users.”
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