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E – 1915 NREL Distributed Solar and Building Energy Systems

Intended Audience: Mechanical, HVAC, and Environmental Engineers
Credits: 3 PDH Units

2 STUDENTS ENROLLED

This online engineering PDH course describes how building energy systems represent a significant and largely untapped demand-side grid resource. Building energy technologies—including energy-efficient devices, flexible loads, and energy storage—can be coordinated and aggregated to perform similar functions as centralized grid assets. In addition, building energy technologies enable the deployment of distributed solar photovoltaics (DPV). The term distributed solar broadly refers to energy produced by solar panels installed on various rooftops in a (possibly large) geographic area, in contrast to concentrated solar, which refers to energy produced by utility-scale solar power plants. Together, DPV and building energy technologies could help grids achieve deep decarbonization more quickly and cost-effectively.

This course is based on the following document:

O’Shaughnessy, and Monisha Shah. 2021. The Demand-Side Opportunity: The Roles of Distributed Solar and Building Energy Systems in a Decarbonized Grid. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-80527.TP-6A20-80527. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy21osti/80527.pdf.

Learning Objectives

At the successful conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • Learning the trends in DPV and building energy-systems growth
  • Knowing the effect of regulatory reforms on demand-side services
  • Understanding demand response as an incentive for consumers to reduce their demand for electricity during peak periods of demand
  • Recognizing the role of demand-side resources
  • Determining the size of the demand-side opportunity to decarbonize grids more quickly and cost-effectively
  • Characterizing barriers to beneficial adoption of demand-side resources
  • Estimating compatibility and interoperability of communication devices
  • Understanding energy policy, building policy, and building user pathways for future development

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