Summary Extract 

Goals
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) specifically targets soft cost reduction by increasing data accessibility, quality and interoperability in the U.S.

The Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access FOA (SB-DATA) will facilitate the growth and expansion of the solar industry by creating a standardized data landscape for distributed solar.  As the solar market continues to rapidly grow, it’s critical that the collection, management, and exchange of solar datasets, especially those that affect the bankability of solar assets – across the value chain from project origination to grid integration, operations, and decommissioning – are coordinated and streamlined to protect  consumers,  increase efficient pricing, and to support new and existing businesses entering the solar marketplace (e.g. new financial, underwriting products, operations and maintenance services). 

The goal of SB-DATA is to support the creation and adoption of industry-led de facto open data standards for rapid and seamless data exchange across the value chain from origination to decommissioning. 

Relevant Data Initiatives
Platforms like OpenEI and data.gov have provided the public free access to government datasets, digital resources and tools.

The most relevant of DOE’s data initiatives to SB-DATA are the Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES) and the Green Button initiative.


Overall Expected Outcomes 
Through this FOA, DOE will fund multidisciplinary teams (e.g. solar, IT/software/database, finance, insurance, grid operation) to create a multi-stakeholder open process for formulating and implementing open data standards for rapid and seamless exchange of solar bankability data (e.g. system characteristic data, production data).

Awardees will function as an industry consortium with:
A strategy working group undertaking a scoping study to identify gaps and requirements across a variety of data use cases, recruiting and managing members from key stakeholders, managing and coordinating technical working groups, and providing guiding technical expertise;


Technical working groups will focus on specific technical expertise to build consensus on the formation of an industry-wide data dictionary, standard data schemas, Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for interoperable integration across critical use cases, and codes of conduct for data use and exchange;


An integration and automation working group will operate in concurrence with all technical working groups to provide technical assistance for adoption, integration, and testing established data standards. In addition, this group is expected to create a termed royalty-free online software capability that would convert legacy paper-based solar records (e.g. permitting and interconnection records) to high-fidelity machine readable/cloud-ready formats compatible with newly minted standards.  Additionally, this group will create on online data exchange marketplace platform to facilitate exchange between data providers and users.

 DOE intends to fund a single process, with competitively awarded groups working as both members of a large umbrella strategy working group, and technically focused working groups. The expected outcomes of this program are as follows:

To create a single broadly adoptable data taxonomy, extensible industry-function-specific standard data schemes (e.g. for financing, grid operation, insurance), and interoperable APIs for solar bankability data (e.g. production data).


To build consensus and implement best practices and standards for data collecting and management and disclosure among state governments, local authorities, nonprofits, utilities, solar installers, financial institutions, and other key stakeholder groups.


The Solar Bankability DATA FOA represents a meaningful opportunity for the DOE to address this issue.  In order to make these cost reductions a reality, DOE will assist the industry in developing standards for solar data.By facilitating the creation of strategic working groups to build foundational open data standards, DOE will provide a platform to reduce these costs.  As the industry begins to incorporate these standards, the exchange of impactful data will become more seamless, and the private sector will be better enabled to address costs related to financing, customer engagement, and operations and maintenance.   

Financing and Access to Capital
Impactful solutions to increase the availability of low cost financial solutions will be integral to the continued success of the solar industry.  Though there has been a sustained demand for projects, stakeholders in the financial community have indicated that the risk of return for solar projects has not been sufficiently quantified.  A survey of available datasets performed by DOE found that the data landscape for solar energy is relatively sparse and fragmented.  Though data is created by each solar installation, it is rarely captured and when it is, it is typically done without adequate attention given to interoperability, limiting its usefulness to most stakeholders.  By assisting the development of a standard for solar data, DOE will provide the foundation for innovation in the private sector, enable new entrants into the market, and facilitate assessments of financial risk with high quality default and performance data.  

Activity Area of Interest A: Stakeholder Engagement & Management
Applicants in this area will convene and manage an open industry-led stakeholder process in collaboration with technical working groups across different parts of the value chain to identify data use cases, data gaps, technical inconsistencies, and core needs, especially in relation to data taxonomies, schemas, and data exchange protocols or methods. A strategy working group will lead the program in defining goals, devising strategies, and implementing solutions in coordination with specific stakeholder groups.  Awardees under this activity area will coordinate closely with all other working groups (e.g. awardees performing functions under activity area of interest B and C) and provide general guidance in the fields of solar energy and data science. 

Activity Area of Interest B: Open Data Standards Formation & Adoption
Applicants in this area will define and create a data dictionary, data schemas, and data exchange protocols, functional specifications for interoperability, de facto digitization mechanisms, and capabilities for specific datasets created throughout the solar PV projects lifecycle (e.g. system characteristic, system production and reliability). The main objective is to help data generated, especially state governments, local authorities, utilities, solar companies, and other stakeholders move towards cost-effective and sustainable rich solar data economy.

The proposed data standards have to be comprehensive, ready to implement, testable, and capable of serving a significant number of stakeholders (e.g. state governments, utilities) with divergent technical conditions, capabilities, or infrastructures. Awardees in this activity area will collaborate and coordinate with the strategy working group, in activity area of interest A, and all other awardees to ensure unity of effort and complementary outcomes.  


B1. Technical working group
a.Solar project deployment (e.g. permitting, installation, grid interconnection)
b.Solar project financing, insurance, and financial management
c.Solar fleet production, operations, and management (O&M)
d.Utility-side solar grid integration, operations and management  
e.Real estate appraisals and valuation

 B2. Cross-cutting working group
a.Data security management, consumer privacy and protection 
b.Technical and data interoperability coordinator


Key expected tasks, outcomes and deliverables include but are not limited to:
Create a single broadly adoptable data taxonomy (dictionary), extensible industry-function-specific standard data schemes (e.g. for B1.a, B1.b), and interoperable APIs to increase industry transactions and seamless data exchange across the solar value chain.  


Formulate financial data standards adopted by at least three of the nation’s largest financial institutions and investors in solar PV. 
Implement data standards, test and evaluate data interoperability across key stakeholders to validate overall compatibility and harmonization.      

Activity Area of Interest C: Integration & Evaluation
Applicants in this activity area will perform three key functions.  First, provide data and software specific technical assistance to stakeholders to implement and integrate the established data standards under activity area of interest B.  Second, develop open, or termed royalty-free, online software capabilities to convert legacy paper-based heterogeneous archives pertaining to solar data (e.g. permitting and interconnection records) to high-fidelity machine readable/cloud-ready formats compatible with newly adopted standards. Stakeholders, especially local governments and utilities will use this software capability to convert legacy paper-based records to machine readable formats, royalty-free for a specified period of time, creating the baseline for future digitized and automated data collection mechanisms.

 

The RFP that was the foundation for the FOA

Solar Big Data and Informatics RFP

Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access FOA

XBRL Extension for Construction, Energy and Transportation  

Timeline

05/22/15              FOA Issue Date
06/04/15              Informational Webinar  (2:00pm ET)
06/22/15              Submission Deadline for Concept Papers
07/31/15              Submission Deadline for Full Applications
08/31/15              Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments
11/02/15              Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications 
                            Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations - 8 weeks
11/05/15              SGIP PAP25 Presentation at Annual Conference.

DE-FOA-0001319


SOLAR BANKABILITY DATA TO ADVANCE TRANSACTIONS AND ACCESS (SB-DATA)
​SOLAR BANKABILITY DATA TO ADVANCE TRANSACTIONS AND ACCESS (SB-DATA) - XBRL-CET Extract


This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) specifically targets soft cost reduction by increasing data accessibility, quality and interoperability in the U.S. The Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access FOA (SB-DATA) will facilitate the growth and expansion of the solar industry by creating a standardized data landscape for distributed solar. As the solar market continues to rapidly grow, it’s critical that the collection, management, and exchange of solar datasets, especially those that affect the bankability of solar assets – across the value chain from project origination to grid integration, operations, and decommissioning – are coordinated and streamlined to protect consumers, increase efficient pricing, and to support new and existing businesses entering the solar marketplace (e.g. new financial, underwriting products, operations and maintenance services).

The goal of SB-DATA is to support the creation and adoption of industry-led de facto open data standards for rapid and seamless data exchange across the value chain from origination to decommissioning. SunShot defines success of this program as the wide adoption of data standards by stakeholders representing at least 60% of the U.S. solar industry, in terms of deployed/managed residential and non-residential distributed solar assets in 2015. This includes solar companies, developers, utilities, state governments, inverter manufactures, financial institutions, investors, underwriters, real estate entities, and others.

Funding Opportunity Announcement
Department of Energy (DOE)
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access (SB-DATA)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number:  DE-FOA-0001319 
FOA Type:  Initial
CFDA Number:  81.087

Reducing Burdens for Construction of Infrastructure
Data Interoperability as Innovation Enabler
Impact​