With few rigorous product evaluations to inform purchasing decisions, large commercial and institutional customers face enormous uncertainty and high costs associated with purchasing advanced energy efficiency, renewable distributed energy generation and energy storage products (collectively defined as distributed energy resource (DER) products). Existing third-party resources do not typically provide information on specific products, nor do they allow for side-by-side comparisons of similar products or provide all of the information consumers need to make informed buying decisions. Relying on manufacturers’ studies is also problematic given the potential biases in such studies. There is little incentive for market actors to fill this gap, which hinders the diffusion of promising DER products on a large scale.
With funding from the California Energy Commission, the Energy and Efficiency Institute is developing the Empower Procurement Product Evaluation Hub to:
- Evaluate selected DER products in a rigorous and transparent manner, and
- Disseminate widely evaluation results to large commercial and institutional customers that use a formal procurement process.
The evaluations will allow ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons of similar products, as well as comparisons to existing government and industry standards. Testing will be completed at respected and experienced institutions with comprehensive test facilities including UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The evaluations, and the supporting data, will be made available through a public web platform.
Providing detailed, comprehensive, and generalizable information in a format that facilitates comparisons, will provide buyers with far more valuable information on which to base their procurement decisions. By providing large customers with the tools they need to make informed purchasing decisions, the Hub will stimulate more widespread adoption of proven DER products, reducing California’s overall energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Project Team identified and described product categories eligible for evaluation through the Hub in a series of characterization reports that are organized by 9 technology sectors.
- Electric Space Conditioning
- Electric Water Heating
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Energy Management and Information Systems
- Building Fenestration and Windows
- Plug Load Products
- Agricultural Irrigation Systems
- Energy Storage