- The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $18 million in funding for six new projects that will incorporate solar power and energy storage, boosting the development of scalable, renewable resources around the United States.
- The DOE's funding is a part of a larger grid moderization effort announced last week, committing to $220 million in research funding for advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures and other grid-edge areas.
- The largest of the six new projects is Austin Energy's; the utility will receive $4.3 million to develop a distributed energy resource management (DERM) platform.
- The projects all include a utility as a key partner, will use internet-capable inverters and will work in conjunction with smart buildings, smart appliances, and utility communication and control systems.
Reflecting the increasing interest in pairing energy storage with solar capacity, DOE officials said the new round of funding announcements aims to build on growth witnessed last year.
“Energy storage, solar PV and smart grid technologies experienced incredible growth in 2015, and we expect they will play an increasingly important role in reaching the nation’s climate and clean energy goals in the coming years,” Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said in a statement.
DOE said the six new integrated solar-storage projects will utilize internet capable inverters and will work in conjunction with smart buildings, smart appliances, and utility communication and control systems. The projects are either led by a utility company or include a utility company as a key partner, and teams will conduct at least a one-year field demonstration of their technologies.
"Ultimately, the solutions developed under this effort will enable the sustainable and holistic integration of hundreds of gigawatts of additional solar energy onto the electric grid throughout the United States," DOE said.
- Austin Energy will receive $4.3 million for its DERMS platform, designed to be adaptable to "any region and market structure, aiming to establish a template that can help to maximize the penetration of distributed solar PV."
- Carnegie Mellon University will receive $1 million to develop and demonstrate a distributed, agent-based control system to integrate smart inverters, energy storage, and commercial off-the-shelf home automation controllers and smart thermostats.
- Commonwealth Edison was tapped for $4 million to utilize smart inverters for solar PV and battery storage systems, "working synergistically with other components within a microgrid community."
- The Electric Power Research Institute will use $3.1 million to work with five utilities to design, develop, and demonstrate technology for end-to-end grid integration of energy storage and load management with PV generation.
- Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems will receive $3.5 million to develop and demonstrate a scalable, integrated PV, storage, and facility load management solution through the SunDial Global Scheduler system.
- And Hawaiian Electric Co. will receive $2.4 million to show the system-level benefits of enhanced utility visibility and control of the distribution system by enabling the proliferation of distributed renewable energy technologies.