Smart Energy Technologies & Energy Storage
Aim/Objective: The Orange Button data exchange standard, developed and maintained by the SunSpec Alliance, is designed to reduce solar soft costs associated with finance, system design, and operational set up. Orange Button enables the smooth flow of information between project developers, contractors, vendors, financiers and other stakeholders. It facilitates the interchange of datasets created throughout the project lifecycle and speeds data transfer by eliminating redundant data entry and the errors that accompany the process. Orange Button is available royalty free and includes a data taxonomy, information models, Application Program Interfaces (API’s), a compliance test suite and reference software. It leverages the fact that enterprises that guard information zealously are willing to share to achieve efficiency and financial gain.
Methods: SunSpec convened working groups with participation from 330+ companies to validate the Orange Button functional requirements and define use cases to focus on reducing solar finance soft costs. Approximately 4,000 industry-expert hours were invested to dissect 25 priority use cases and develop 4,500 Orange Button taxonomy entries. The taxonomy is implemented using XBRL, an extensible platform that standardizes and automates sharing business-related data. Since release of Orange Button v1.0 in April 2018, development efforts have focused building open-source software to facilitate use of the taxonomy and extending the taxonomy to operations and maintenance use cases.
Results: This project produced a number of significant accomplishments: 1. Produced the Orange Button taxonomy consisting of 4,500 solar terms, 15,000 financial terms, APIs, and open source test tools. and accompanying APIs, 2. Established and Orange Button developer community that is actively producing open source code and improving the taxonomy, and 3. Secured many early adopters including: Aurora Solar, BayWa r.e., Clean Power Research, DNV-GL, LG, Mercatus, Oracle, Salesforce, sPower, SunPower, Wells Fargo, and many others.
Conclusion: 1. Reduced cost of capital: By increasing efficiency and data portability through the solar project lifecycle, potential finance savings are $0.10 to $0.15 per watt, 2. Lowered installation and commissioning costs: A standard interface reduces install time by three- to six hours saving up to $0.03 to $0.06 per watt 3. Reduced maintenance costs: For fleet operators with 1,000 or more systems, savings from monitoring standardization equates to $0.02 per watt, and 4. Reduced development and integration costs: Uniform standards for test and validation improves product development economics and reduces customization. The findings of this project will be presented by Tom Tansy, Chairman of the SunSpec Alliance and Cliff Hansen, Technical Lead at Sandia National Laboratories.