Solar Plus: A Holistic Approach to Distributed Solar PV

Eric OShaughnessy, Kristen Ardani, Dylan Cutler, Robert Margolis

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Solar 'plus' refers to an emerging approach to distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment that uses energy storage and controllable devices to optimize customer economics. The solar plus approach increases customer system value through technologies such as electric batteries, smart domestic water heaters, smart air-conditioner (AC) units, and electric vehicles We use an NREL optimization model to explore the customer-side economics of solar plus under various utility rate structures and net metering rates. We explore optimal solar plus applications in five case studies with different net metering rates and rate structures. The model deploys different configurations of PV, batteries, smart domestic water heaters, and smart AC units in response to different rate structures and customer load profiles. The results indicate that solar plus improves the customer economics of PV and may mitigate some of the negative impacts of evolving rate structures on PV economics. Solar plus may become an increasingly viable model for optimizing PV customer economics in an evolving rate environment.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages49
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-68371


  • balance of system
  • energy storage
  • PV
  • REopt
  • soft costs
  • solar
  • solar balance of system
  • solar soft costs


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