The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $4 million for projects to launch the Orange Button℠ initiative. To understand the financial risk of solar energy project development, the solar energy community relies on fragmented datasets released by state energy offices and a limited number of private organizations regarding project origination, grid integration, operations, and retirement. These datasets vary widely in format, quality, and content, which makes it difficult for potential providers to have an accurate understanding of potential markets. The goal of the the Orange Button project is to standardize this data which will ensure a more standardized and transparent marketplace.
The DoE selected four organizations, Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) , SunSpec Alliance, kWh Analytics, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to lead the Orange Button initiative. The goal is to create a widely adoptable, unified data standard for the solar industry. SGIP is receiving $600,000 to help organize and monitor the Orange Button℠ initiative.
A robust data infrastructure for the solar industry is needed to enable rapid and seamless data exchanges between producers and consumers of solar data. It is estimated that a reduction in the cost of capital as a result of better access to solar data will reduce risk and could result in savings of nearly $9 billion over the next 10 years to solar users.
The Orange Button initiative is modeled on the very successful Green Button initiative which enabled consumers to share their electric power usage information with third parties. Orange Button, which was originally named Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access, aims at reducing soft costs through standards for the collection, security, management, exchange, and monetizing of solar datasets across the value chain of solar energy.