The Orange Button ‘Gridvolution’: A Critical Tool for Taking the Energy Transition Digital

Orange Button Initiative, a Gridvolution

Originally published on SEPA Knowledge Blog by Matthew Hirsch. Visit their site for full article.

Two months ago at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, decarbonization captured most of the headlines—and for good reason. California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that state, local and business leadership is driving the United States toward its 2025 goals for the United Nations’ Paris climate accord, despite President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement. The campaign against climate change is gaining momentum.

Meanwhile, at an affiliated event called Gridvolution, several sessions focused on distributed energy resources, including the Orange Button Initiative, a collaborative effort to drive down project soft costs by establishing a standard format for reporting and collecting project data. The U.S. Department of Energy launched the initiative in 2016 with the goal of creating an industry-wide standard similar to the Green Button standard for streamlining consumers’ access to their energy use data.

Led by SunSpec Alliance, the creators of the Gridvolution forum and a principal Orange Button sponsor, the event had no grand proclamations; instead initiative stakeholders rolled out a powerful new set of software tools for solar financiers, project developers and asset managers. The message here: an electric grid evolution, a “gridvolution,” is gathering speed, as well.

Talking Orange Button at the Gridvolution, (from left) Jon Previtali, Wells Fargo; Michelle Savage, XBRL US; Charlie Isaacs, Salesforce; David Sykes, Chapman and Cutler LLP; and Tom Tansy, SunSpec Alliance. (Photo by Matthew Wiseman)

Key takeaways from the event: Moving beyond initial development of the standard, software developers are now major players in the multiplication and sophistication of its potential applications. And, from an initial group of four sponsors, Orange Button has expanded to include 350 companies and more than 1,000 individuals as active participants.

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SunSpec Alliance is the information standards and certification organization for the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) industry. SunSpec communication standards address operational requirements of solar and energy storage on the smart grid.