RE Magazine

Technology Trendsetters 

NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network spotlights three advances likely to impact electric co-op operations over the next three to five years.

Cover Story

By Reed Karaim

Cover Story

In today’s utility world, the technological march forward has become a constant. Progress arrives daily via a steady stream of new products, gizmos, gadgets, updates, and upgrades that affect everything from software to conductors.

Recently, staff from NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network (CRN)―which, in partnership with member co-ops, academic institu- tions, national laboratories, and others, analyzes innovations that keep electric co-ops at the forefront of the electric utility industry―met with RE Magazine to identify a trio of technology-related developments that co-op board members, employees, and consumers should keep an eye on.

“All of these carry significant implications for electric co-ops,” asserts John Hewa, NRECA vice president of research, engineering & technical services. “By engaging now in their development, co-op leadership can stay ahead of the game and plan for both impacts and opportunities.”

Solar energy has been around forever. But the renewable resource continues to make gains because of falling prices.

Over the past 20 years, the price of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has tumbled, and with it, PV arrays are emerging as an ever-growing part of the nation’s renewable energy supply. According to the Solar Electric Power Association, PV modules have plunged from $9 per watt in 1992 to $1.15 per watt in 2012.

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