Orange Button identifier

The Orange Button® Solar Data Standard is an open data standard developed to create online marketplaces for the solar photovoltaics (PV) industry to exchange data among stakeholders such as PV project developers, PV asset owners, PV power plants operators, utilities, grid operators, and software or hardware solution providers. More information on the Orange Button standard can be found here.

Originally funded under the Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access funding opportunity announcement in 2016, the aim of this industry-led data standard is to reduce soft costs and simplify the collection, security, management, and exchange of datasets across the value chain of the solar PV industry. The SunSpec Alliance currently leads and manages the Orange Button data standard developed under this funding opportunity announcement.

As the solar market continues to rapidly expand, it’s critical that the collection, management, and exchange of solar datasets are coordinated and streamlined to protect consumers, increase efficient pricing, and support new and existing businesses entering the solar marketplace. Unified data standards can help the solar industry to reduce market inefficiencies and lower costs for consumers.

Details of the awards announced in April 2016 according to the Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access funding opportunity announcement are below. Read the announcement


Orange Button’s four awardees will be collaborating on one overall goal to standardize the way solar data is collected and exchanged. The first phase of the project will convene industry stakeholders to define data requirements, the second phase will formulate data taxonomies and interoperability standards, and the third phase will help adoption and the development a data exchange marketplace. 


Orange Button supports the creation and adoption of industry-led open data standards for rapid and seamless data exchange across the solar value chain from origination to decommissioning. Standardizing data will allow for a reduction in soft costs by making it easier to share solar data and speeding up processes like financing. SunShot defines success of this program as the wide adoption of data standards by stakeholders representing at least 60% of the U.S. solar industry, in terms of deployed and distributed solar assets.


Smart Grid Interoperability Panel 2.0 (Phase 1)

Location: Boston, MA
SunShot Award Amount: $615,426
Awardee Cost Share: $617,442
Project Summary: Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) will convene stakeholders and managing working groups to define the requirements of the project. The 24-month project will focus on driving out inefficiencies in data exchanges that lead to reduced soft costs associated with solar projects. The proposed project would seek to help integrate data standards across the life cycle of a solar project.

SunSpec Alliance (Phase 2)

Location: Santa Clara, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,638,765
Awardee Cost Share: $1,820,468
Project Summary: The SunSpec Alliance team will establish an open, easy-to-adopt solar data architecture and standards —comprised of uniform data taxonomy, information models, data schemas, data exchange protocols, functional specifications for interoperability, compliance test suite and reference software—that will enable the free flow of data between existing software products that address critical aspects of the solar asset life cycle. This system will leverage the inherent capabilities of existing international data standards, extend them using uniform data taxonomy built with industry consensus, and combine them with common data exchange technologies, thus establishing a basic dictionary for interchange of interoperable datasets created throughout the solar project lifecycle.

kWh Analytics (Phase 3)

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $1,000,000
Project Summary: kWh Analytics will support the adoption of industry-led data standards, including the development of a data format translation software tool, Solar BabelFish, which will instantly translate original data formats into data standards, significantly reducing the effort and time required to adopt the data standards, leading to 60% adoption of data standards by the U.S. solar market within two years.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (Phase 3)

Location: Golden, CO
SunShot Award Amount: $400,000
Awardee Cost Share: $400,000
Project Summary: NREL will develop tools to covert paper-based solar records to machine readable formats and establish a marketplace for standardized solar datasets. This platform will provide an open source data repository, easy access to data that is housed on the internet, a central catalog for solar energy data, a means to combine data, a gateway to common data standards, and a searchable interface.

Learn more about the Solar Energy Technology Office’s soft costs research.