Stem partners with HECO to develop distribution platform for solar-storage systems

Dive Brief:

  • Energy storage provider Stem will partner with the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) in a $2.43 million research project funded by recently-unveiled U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SHINES program designed to advance innovation and growth in solar-plus-storage systems.
  • The research is part of the $18.3 million, 6 project Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) program, the first DOE SunShot effort aimed moderating the variability of solar energy by advancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar-plus-storage systems.
  • Stem will apply its software and analytics to help businesses in Hawaii use solar-plus-storage to better manage their peak demand. It will also HECO develop an energy management platform to give it greater visibility and control of the stored solar energy-generated electricity.

Dive Insight:

HECO will contribute $2.4 million to the project and will partner with Siemens, Alstom, DNV GL, AWS Truepower, Referentia Systems, and Apparent, as well as Stem. The goal of the project is to “enable proliferation of a reliable base of PV and storage distributed technologies that offer more plug-and-play customer options for grid participation, and provide cost-effective ‘grid response’ capabilities to system operators,” according to DOE.

The HECO-Stem project will develop SEAMS (System to Edge-of-Network Architecture and Management for SHINES) to grid-integrate and manage PV-plus-storage systems. The SEAMS interdisciplinary team will design and demonstrate energy management logics to view, evaluate and manage distribution-system level, customer-sited resources without compromising grid reliability, according to DOE.

“The distribution grid today is trying to cope with rapid increases in bi-directional flow of distributed generation resources. Because of limited point-to-point visibility and controls to grid operation centers on distribution grids, a sudden influx or drop off of DG in local pockets can have adverse and costly impacts,” HECO Director of Renewable Energy Planning Dora Nakafuji said in a statement.

The need for a modern energy managment platform to control distributed resources on the grid is especially pressing for HECO. Driven by the nation's highest electricity prices, more than 12% of Hawaii electricity consumers have installed rooftop solar, and the utility is pushing storage to help customers manage costs as well. Last year, Stem and HECO announced a pilot project for 1 MW of storage aimed at showing how the resource can help the utility comply with Hawaii's 100% renewables by 2045 mandate. 

Filed Under: Energy Storage Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr; Roxanne Ready