Pilot Projects

The deployment of distributed photovoltaic systems (DPV) is increasing rapidly across the world due to decreasing technology costs, its scalability, and its environmental, and resilience benefits. However, technical and policy barriers to DPV deployment remain in many countries. Through Greening the Grid, NREL and USAID work with in-country partners around the world to share best practices, build capacity, and provide technical assistance to accelerate DPV deployment. The following are examples of recent and ongoing projects in partner countries.


The Government of India, through the National Solar Mission (NSM), aims to reduce the cost of solar and is targeting 100 GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. DPV is important for India to achieve its goals, but deployment has lagged for numerous reasons. USAID’s Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Deployment (PACE-D), with support from NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), collaborated with power sector stakeholders in Gujarat and Jharkhand, and to scale distributed energy resources. Technical activities focused on 1) exploring regulatory frameworks for DPV-plus-storage, 2) identifying key DPV quality and safety challenges and solutions, and 3) understanding the value of distributed solar to distribution utilities and how it can inform new compensation models for DPV.  

For more information, see:


As the Indonesian government aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) and the state-run distribution utility, PLN, partnered with USAID, NREL, and LBNL to study the impacts of increased DPV deployment in the country. This three-pronged, data-driven analysis explored customer economics, utility finances, and job and economic development impacts of DPV in order to inform the revision of the net metering rules.

For more information on the study, see:


In 2015, USAID and NREL worked with the Office of Utilities Regulation in Jamaica to assess the effectiveness of the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited Net-Billing Pilot Program. NREL collected and analyzed data from a wide range of stakeholders, conducted in-country research, and compared program elements to common interconnection practices. As a result of this study, NREL found that the net-billing program successfully contributed to the emergence of the Jamaican solar market and formed programmatic recommendations for remaining DPV challenges in Jamaica. 

For more information, see:


In collaboration with Chulalongkorn University’s Energy Research Institute, USAID, NREL, and LBNL engaged Thai power sector stakeholders, including the Ministry of Energy, the Office of the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Metropolitan and Provincial Electricity Authorities, and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, to evaluate the financial impacts of increased DPV penetration on distribution utilities in Thailand. The study provided qualitative and quantitative analysis of how DPV affects utility revenues and subsequently potential retail electricity rates.  

For more information, see:


As a response to increasing customer demand and decreasing technology costs, the Government of Vietnam has implemented DPV programs and seen significant deployment in recent years. USAID, NREL, and LBNL are supporting Vietnam’s utility, EVN, to better understand the financial and technical impacts of DPV deployment through analysis and capacity building. 


The Government of Ghana is evaluating “least-cost” energy development pathways. NREL and USAID partnered to provide technical assistance, capacity building, tool development, and other support to Ghana’s power system operators, distribution companies, power generators, and regulators. More specifically, NREL supported the Electric Company of Ghana and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company to characterize distribution feeders and to identify feasible to optimal areas of the distribution system for PV systems. This helped Ghanaian distribution utilities better understand the local impacts of rooftop PV on their networks so they can streamline DPV planning, deployment, and interconnection and maximize the financial benefits of DPV to distribution network operations.


DPV adoption in the Philippines is lower than expected despite excellent solar resources and an established net metering policy, prompting a re-evaluation of the country’s DPV policies. USAID, NREL, LBNL, and Chulalongkorn University partnered with the Department of Energy of the Philippines (PDOE) to assess the economic and technical implications of DPV deployment in the Philippines. The analysis focused on three key areas: customer economics, utility revenue and rate impacts, and technical impacts. In December 2018, USAID and NREL presented analysis results to power sector stakeholders at a workshop in Manila and continued to support PDOE through a public consultation process for proposed changes to net metering rules in the Philippines. 

To learn more, read the Distributed Photovoltaic Economic and Technical Impact Analysis in the Philippines report and watch the accompanying webinar:


USAID and NREL are supporting energy security in Colombia by helping the Government of Colombia diversify its energy mix, stabilize energy costs, and electrify rural areas. Notably, USAID and NREL provided technical support to the Colombian Energy Regulatory Commission (CREG) as it developed a resolution to allow and guide distributed energy investments and the treatment of excess generation to the grid for customers interested in deploying distributed PV. Resolution 030, published in February 2018 can be found here. USAID and NREL have also supported the Colombian Association of Electric Power Generators (ALCOGEN) and the Colombian Association of Distribution Utilities (ASOCODIS) on topics such as variable renewable energy integration, grid modernization, smart metering, and utility business models.

An example of the work being done in Colombia includes using the Distributed Generation Market Demand (dGenTM) model to provide projections to 2050 on distributed PV deployment by sector for a range of scenarios for Barranquilla, Colombia. As part of this analysis, technical potential, economic potential, and adoption projections of rooftop and groundmount PV for the city of Barranquilla were presented. Five main scenarios and their combinations were modeled to provide insight on the impact of increased demand from electric vehicles, air conditioning, and time-of-use tariffs. Read the full report here: Forecasting Distributed PV Adoption in Barranquilla, Colombia

Back to Top