Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer today announced Orlando is one of nine teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to participate in a collaborative research to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. The city is partnering with the Orlando Utilities Commission and the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center to develop new research that will utilize solar photovoltaic and energy storage technologies on municipal properties with the intent of broader replications.

Participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network will assess cost-effective options to meet the city’s commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy for municipal operations by 2030 and citywide by 2050.

“Cities are the front lines, where leading an effort like this can not only help to improve the health of our residents but also help preserve natural resources, ensure environmental protection, create new jobs in the growing clean-energy industry and drive even more economic growth to our region,” Dyer said. “We’re committed to taking the steps necessary to make our city resilient and we are proud to have partners on both the local and national level to support these efforts.”

Elizabeth Klonoff, UCF’s vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said: “We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the City of Orlando to make our community a national model for renewable energy and sustainable living. Our researchers are already leaders in this field and I can’t think of a better place to implement some of our cutting-edge research than our own hometown.”

Through Orlando’s participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network, the solutions developed and demonstrated through the project will serve as a blueprint for other communities to implement.

“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to use solar power to improve the future of grid security and reliability in their communities,” said Kristen Ardani, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL.

The team’s participation in the program will include financial, analytical and facilitation support services to help identify barriers and create innovative solutions to help Orlando ensure a reliable plan for power in the the future.

NREL is operating the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies. For more information on the network, visit nrel.gov/solar/solar-energy-innovation-network.html.