Under the Trump administration, data and reports just keep disappearing, or they are not published at all.
First it was the SEAMS project by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which just never got published. Then it was the dataset for a paper on high levels of renewable energy which got pulled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site.
And this week, pv magazine has discovered that The Open PV Project, a site which provided real-time tracking of costs for distributed solar, is offline.
This appears to be the continuation of a slow decline. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which helped to found Open PV, says that Lawrence Berkeley National Lab was supplying most of the information for Open PV, and that it hasn’t been uploading data recently.
SEIA also says that the site “never really worked out.” According to a statement by SEIA, “it was a great resource for many years that provided great visualizations. Unfortunately, the crowdsource strategy never really panned out and OpenPV never had anything close to complete information on PV deployment.”
The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) did not immediately respond to pv magazine with an explanation of what has happened to Open PV. While the removal of the site was a surprise, SEIA says that the underlying data is still available.
“Fortunately, the data sources that fed into OpenPV are still available,” reads SEIA’s statement.
However, this doesn’t help independent researchers like Dr. Christopher Clack of Vibrant Clean Energy, who says that he used Open PV data for his work. “It is important for us to keep up to date with installation rates and prices of solar across the USA to calibrate the modeling we do in WIS:dom for the evolution of the grid as renewables are integrated,” said Clack. ” This is integral as a complement to the EIA, FERC and other data sources for corroboration and validation.”
We will provide more information on the fate of the Open PV Project as it becomes available.