Clear Sky Tampa Bay2021-12-06T15:07:26-05:00

Clear Sky Tampa Bay

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Staff Contacts

Alana Todd
Environmental Planner
(727) 570-5151 ext. 40

PRESS RELEASE

Clear Sky Tampa Bay

A Resilience-Based Siting Toolkit for Solar+Storage

A resource to assess the feasibility of commercial-scale solar+storage to support public safety, disaster preparedness and post-disaster recovery objectives.

Long-lasting power outages caused by hurricanes and other disasters have major impacts on communities and local economies. Leading organizations and energy agencies across the country are working to evaluate the role of solar energy and battery storage on specific buildings to improve local community resilience goals. The Clear Sky Tampa Bay Team, convened by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) and composed of county and city partners, private and public sector stakeholders, solar energy experts, and academic partners, collaboratively developed a set of resources to support the expanded use of solar + storage in the context of community resilience in Florida.

The Clear Sky Toolkit provides local government staff, utilities, and other community partners with a screening template and additional tools for evaluating the potential to deploy commercial-scale solar + storage applications on critical facilities to mitigate the effects of power outages on critical infrastructure and essential services.

Part of the Toolkit, the Clear Sky Decision Support Template and Guide walk users through a structured approach to prioritizing potential sites that provide critical community services for solar + storage investments based on community resilience considerations, site feasibility, power requirements, and utility collaboration. The Clear Sky Toolkit includes additional resources for users to continue assessments beyond the initial screening and prioritization assessments captured in the Decision Support Template. The suite of solar + storage assessment tools will continue to grow as new resources are made available.

Clear Sky Toolkit

Project Overview

The Clear Sky team developed a toolkit that provides local governments and community partners questions and resources for assessing the siting prioritization and feasibility of solar + storage for disaster resilience purposes. The Clear Sky Toolkit adds to this emerging area of research and practice by addressing the need for a standardized approach for making resilience-based decisions about solar and storage that is consistent with cities and counties across regions. By aligning solar + storage investments with specific risk reduction goals, the Toolkit serves as a multi-purpose resource to support disaster preparedness, increase justification for solar + storage implementation, and encourage the integration of solar and storage into capital improvements as a pre-disaster mitigation strategy.

Solar+Storage Siting Assessments

Decision Support Template

An Excel-based tool that assists users in conducting facility solar+storage prioritization and feasibility screening assessments that include the consideration of emergency management priorities and community resilience benefits. The Template consolidates and streamlines the most relevant resources from the emergency management discipline, the electric utility sector, and national energy research institutions to assist in further site analysis and decision making. The template is divided into modules that provide a structured, step-by-step approach of guiding questions to facilitate data and information collection, offering insights on how to interpret that information in the context of solar and storage decision-making.

Decision Support User Guide

This Decision Support User Guide walks users through the Decision Support Template, the rationale behind the questions, and how to interpret the answers. It assists users in understanding the reference materials for the Decision Support Template, answers commonly asked questions, and provides supporting resources for users that want a more in-depth analysis.

Case Studies

A series of case studies illustrate varying use-cases for the Decision Support Template and describe the user’s process in assessing sites for solar and storage within four local governments in Florida.

Digital Resource Library

The Clear Sky Toolkit includes additional resources for users to continue analysis beyond the initial screening and prioritization afforded by the Decision Support Template. The online library consists of valuation resources, such as guidance for completing a resilience cost-benefit assessment with REopt Lite, links to additional tools and information about solar + storage, and a Florida policy landscape informational slide deck. The Digital Resource Library will expand over time as new, relevant resources are released.

Solar + Storage Siting & Policy Resources 

Resources for Assessing the Value of Resilience

Additional Tools & Programs

The Clear Sky Tampa Bay hosted a webinar on June 30, 2021 for the pre-release of the Clear Sky Toolkit which was developed through Round 2 of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Energy Innovation Program. The Clear Sky Toolkit is composed of regionally applicable resources to assess the feasibility of commercial-scale solar + storage to support public safety, disaster preparedness, and post-disaster recovery objectives.

The Clear Sky Tampa Bay team shared the process of developing these resources and ways for users to apply the Clear Sky Toolkit within their own community to strengthen energy and overall community resilience. County and City government partners shared lessons learned about energy resilience within their jurisdictions and tips for other users of the Clear Sky Toolkit more broadly. This webinar should be attended by anyone seeking to improve the resilience of communities through targeted applications of solar + storage technology on critical facilities.

Clear Sky Tampa Bay: Commercial-Scale Solar Cohort

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council was one of eight teams from around the country selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to develop novel applications of solar energy. NREL is leading the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. Common themes among the teams included solar plus storage, community solar, resilience benefits of solar, and the value of solar in distributed systems. NREL pursues fundamental research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to transform the way we use energy.

“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to assess the use of solar power, such as for resilience in commercial-scale applications,” said Eric Lockhart, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL. “The work of these teams will provide a blueprint and useful resources for other communities.”

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Rocky Mountain Institute helped the eight teams realize and demonstrate these novel, often never-before-tried applications with extensive analytical and modeling support and facilitated stakeholder engagement.

Solar Energy Innovation Network

Clear Sky Tampa Bay Team

Lead Organization:  Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
Local Government Partners:  Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, City of Largo
Academic Partner:  University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability
Technical Advisor:  Converge Strategies

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Clear Sky News

Regional Resiliency Initiatives

Regional Resiliency Initiatives

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