Institutional and Policy Landscape for Solar-Plus-Storage Deployment by Electric Cooperatives

David Sarkisian, Jill Cliburn, Sara Farrar (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


As co-location with battery storage has become a significant solar project-design trend across the United States, policies at all levels have started to adjust. Generally, these policies address battery storage development in major, urban markets, served by large investor-owned utilities (IOUs). Yet all kinds of utilities nationwide are seeking ways to tap into the fast-growing battery storage market, and they are all stakeholders in the federal, state, and local policies that impact the storage market's development. The electric cooperative sector, which includes some 830 distribution utilities and 63 generating and transmission (G&T) utilities across a mostly rural landscape, is no exception. It is impacted by federal, state, and local government policy requirements and incentives, as well as by policies that are controlled by the sector's own institutions. The objective of this paper is to identify and discuss the various policy and institutional factors that are relevant to the electric cooperative sector, and especially to local, distribution-level electric cooperatives (co-ops) that may be interested in procuring energy storage. Given this, the paper is largely written from the local co-op perspective. It also may be useful to wholesale G&T cooperatives. Other parties that may find the paper useful include storage developers, who are often unfamiliar with co-ops; local and state policymakers addressing policy options for this sector, and local renewable or storage stakeholders, who wish to understand the policy landscape affecting their local utility. Although co-op energy storage programs may tap customer-side batteries, this examination is focused on utility-side "front of the meter" projects and the policy issues they raise.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Work performed by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, Raleigh, North Carolina and Cliburn and Associates, LLC, Santa Fe, New Mexico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-7A40-90017


  • co-location
  • co-ops
  • electric cooperatives
  • energy storage
  • front of the meter
  • investor-owned
  • IOUs
  • local government
  • policy
  • solar+storage
  • urban markets
  • utilities
  • utility


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