The Department of Energy (DOE) understands that as the load centers of energy use across the nation, cities present unique challenges and opportunities for solar market transformation. Cities can be champions of progressive energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. DOE wishes to support their bold and innovative approaches to accelerate solar technology adoption at the local level.
Through the Solar America Cities funding opportunities in 2007 and 2008, DOE has current partners with 25 Solar America Cities committed to developing a comprehensive, systemic, city-wide approach to solar technology that facilitates mainstream adoption and provides a model for other cities. With the support of the Solar America Cities financial and technical assistance, many cities have developed innovative programs and concepts with potential to significantly boost the solar market.
DOE requested proposals from the 25 Solar America Cites that would scale-up innovative programs and concepts so they can be tested in the broader market place; thereby, increasing the likelihood of replication in other U.S. cities.
Saint Paul Strategy
On July 30th, the City of Saint Paul with the City of Minneapolis applied for a Solar America Cities Special Projects (DE-FOA-0000078) grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Saint Paul Minneapolis Solar Cities propose to work with local district energy providers - District Energy St. Paul and NRG Energy Center Minneapolis - to investigate and demonstrate the value of using district energy systems to leverage large scale solar investment and create transformative actions in the energy market. The proposed solar district energy project will document how solar energy, (including solar thermal and hybrid solar thermal/photovoltaic (PV) systems, may be integrated to serve multiple users. The demonstration will examine both how solar energy supplements existing district energy systems from a technological perspective (integrating solar as a generating input to the district energy system) and from a business model perspective (adding value to the energy services provided by the district energy system).