Full Title: Expanding PV Value: Lessons Learned from Utility-led Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation in the United States
Author(s): Jeffrey J. Cook, Kristen Ardani, Eric O’Shaughnessy, Brittany Smith, and Robert Margolis
Publisher(s): National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Publication Date: 11/2018

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Description (excerpt):

Distributed residential photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States increased from about 0.4
GW in 2010 to 10.5 GW in 2017 (GTM Research and SEIA 2018). Distributed PV and other
emerging distributed energy resources (DERs) like battery storage and electric vehicles (EVs)
may provide demand response, voltage regulation, and other grid services. When many DERs are
aggregated and called upon to provide certain services simultaneously, they may provide the
distribution grid with ancillary and other services that enhance reliability. These initiatives are
often referred to as DER aggregation or virtual power plants. If nascent U.S. utility-led DER
aggregation projects prove successful, new value streams could open for PV and other emerging
DERs, thereby expanding deployment and transforming the energy market.

The literature on the scope, performance, and lessons learned from utility-led DER aggregation
projects is limited. This report fills the research gap by surveying such programs nationwide and
then analyzing five project case studies to compare lessons learned and identify common
challenges and solutions that other utilities might consider when developing next-generation
pilots and programs.