Renewables Integration

Renewables Integration

Strategic use of renewables can help businesses reduce energy costs and their environmental footprint. The Renewables Integration Technology Research Team is pleased to provide resources, information and guidance on integrating renewable energy into your building portfolio.

Explore How Different Sectors Incorporate Solar PV: View Solar Case Studies
Have Questions on PV and Roofing?: View the PV Roofing Guide
Overcoming the Owner-Tenant Split Incentive for Solar PV: Contribute Solutions
Events Calendar

Better Buildings partners participate in webinars, peer-exchange calls, meetings, and industry workshops and conferences. Browse upcoming events and opportunities to participate by month.

Get Involved

The Renewables Integration Team collaborates with researchers and industry experts to promote awareness and energy reduction through new technologies. Contact the Better Buildings Alliance to learn how you can get involved.

2020 Summit Presentations are Live

Recordings, slides, and transcripts from the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit sessions are now available online. Revisit your favorite sessions from our Virtual Leadership Symposium, or catch one you may have missed.

Featured Solutions

Solar PV has the potential to provide significant benefits to hotels by way of attracting guests and, more importantly, reducing operating costs.
This guide explores the benefits, barriers, and strategies to installing solar on leased buildings, including commercial real estate.
This document provides guidance for implementing Solar PV in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
This resource highlights best practices in selecting a commercial solar provider. Business owners interested in going solar can take these steps to install an on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
When a commercial building owner first considers installing solar PV, the first questions they ask typically involve how the system will be mounted to their roof and its impact on the roof warranty. This fact sheet addresses such common questions as identified by the Better Buildings Alliance’s Renewables Integration Team.
This guide is intended for anyone investigating the addition of energy storage to a single or multiple commercial buildings. 

Other Resources

Case Studies

Recognizing the opportunity in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, BJ’s installed nearly 20 PV systems throughout Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey. These systems collectively produce 5.5 megawatts of power annually, allowing BJ's to reduce operating and energy costs so they can direct more resources to their core mission.
Nixon Peabody made many energy efficiency renovations to their Washington, D.C. office and pursued LEED Platinum for Commercial Interiors. They also incorporated renewable energy as an integral component to achieve their goal of saving $800 a month on their energy bill.
The Tower Companies is committed to being an environmental leader in the real estate industry and installed its first solar photovoltaic (PV) system on a large, class A office building in Washington, D.C. The solar installation contributed to the sustainability profile of the property, which was already certified LEED Gold.
TownePlace Suites discovered an unused four-acre piece of land adjoining one of its properties, and developed the land with a solar installation, decreasing electric costs and improving the hotel’s environmental reputation.
Madera Community Hospital completed the installation of a 1,140 kilowatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The array produces 2,183,220 kWh annually and offsets approximately 40% of the hospital’s electricity consumption.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield North- Airport operates in a hot climate and has high HVAC operating costs. To mitigate these costs, a carport solar array was installed, producing monthly savings of $8,800.
Bardessono, a hotel in Yountville, California was designed to be one of the most energy efficient hotels in the world. A major roof-top solar array was included in the design to achieve significant energy savings and LEED Platinum certification. The PV system produces approximately one-half of the electricity used by the hotel.
WDT Indio retrofit its 40-year-old, 32,000 square foot building, installing a 138 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array to offest 80 percent of the building’s energy consumption, in hopes to achieve net zero energy.
The North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System installed a 50 kilowatt solar array on one of their auxiliary buildings, producing 55,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, ensuring continuous energy cost savings and a cleaner energy resource.
Gundersen Health System constructed one of the nation's first LEED parking structures for a hospital, complete with PV panels. As of 2014, the system is one of the first to offset 100 percent of its energy use with renewable energy.

Guidance

This presentation examines solar finance for residential and commercial customers and potential roles of state and local government.
Use this template to develop your own Request For Proposal (RFP) document, which will effectively communicate the specifications of your desired PV solar project to vendors in your area.
Use this template in conjunction with the Solar PV RFP & Procurement Guidance Template to develop a customized form for vendors to complete when responding to your Solar PV RFP.  
This document is intended to reduce project development and operational risks while increasing the speed at which projects are completed -- two necessary components to reach the scale required to meet mandates and achieve cost savings for taxpayers. This guide is intended to act as a living document where lessons learned from the increasing number of projects can be incorporated and provide guidance for efforts.
This report provides guidance for businesses considering implementing solar PV, as there are widespread geographic differences regarding utility incentive structures, utility policies, regulatory structures, and permitting requirements.
Developed in partnership with Spark Northwest and the Center for Sustainable Energy, IREC’s guide outlines two potential pathways to enable greater solar access for renters and multifamily residents and LMI communities in Seattle.

Implementation Model

At its Regency Saugus Center in Massachusetts, national retail center owner Regency Centers partnered with tenant Trader Joe's to install a 253 KW rooftop solar system. Regency Centers owns the solar array and sells the generated solar energy power to Trader Joe's at a discount, offsetting approximately 65% of their total electricity use with clean power.

Additional Information

Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
Find policies and incentives by state.

SunShot Resource Center
The Solar Energy Resource Center has over 100 unique documents developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, national laboratories and SunShot awardees.

The articles below go into detail on the rationale and business case to do metering and monitoring of solar PV systems on commercial buildings:

Sector Priorities

Meet the Technology Expert

Rois Langner has worked as a building scientist and architectural engineer in the Commercial Buildings Research Group at NREL since the beginning of 2010. Her past research efforts have focused on building energy efficiency projects that utilize OpenStudio software to analyze and optimize building design and performance for military and large commercial buildings. She has worked with organizations to develop, implement, and maintain energy management policies and systems for continual energy improvement. More recently, she has worked to support the small commercial building sector in overcoming barriers that inhibit the adoption of energy efficiency solutions. Additionally, Rois supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance, leading the Renewables Integration Technology Research Team. If you would like more information on the Renewables Integration Team, please contact rois.langner@nrel.gov.