The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the investment of up to $11.8 million — $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — for five projects designed to advance the next stage of development of solar energy grid integration systems (SEGIS). The selections are part of DOE's continuing work to help ensure the nation's electrical grid reliability is maintained and improved as solar energy technologies reach cost competitiveness and increased levels of integration with the grid.
Initiated in 2008, the SEGIS activity is a partnership that includes DOE, Sandia National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and universities and emphasizes complete system development. The selected projects focus on the most promising technology advances and include development of intelligent system controls. Ultimately, these projects seek to maintain or improve power quality and reliability, as well as return economic value while increasing integration of solar technologies into the U.S. electrical grid.
The selections announced include:
PVPowered of Bend, Ore.: PVPowered will partner with Portland General Electric (Portland, Ore.), South Dakota State University (Brookings, S.D.), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, S.D.), Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (Pullman, Wash.), and SENSUS (Raleigh, N.C.). The project will reinforce the fundamental objectives of the SEGIS program to optimize interconnections across the full range of emerging PV module technologies through innovative systems integration. DOE cost share: up to $3 million
Petra Solar of South Plainfield, N.J.: Petra Solar will work with the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.) and 15 electric utilities with service in New Jersey, Pennsylvania; Ohio; Delaware; Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Florida; and Texas. This project complements the mission of the Solar Program to achieve the widespread adoption of solar energies. It supports improving reliability and resiliency so that high levels of PV integration can be adapted. DOE cost share: up to $2.9 million
Princeton Power of Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Power will work with Transistor Device, Inc. (TDI), LaGuardia Community College (New York), Idyllwild Municipal Water District (San Diego), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Princeton, N.J.), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Princeton, N.J.), Premier Power, SPG Solar (Novato, Calif.), and Spire (Bedford, Mass.). This project focuses on lowering manufacturing costs through integrated controls for energy storage and develops new inverter designs. DOE cost share: up to $2.8 million
Apollo Solar of Bethel, Conn.: Apollo Solar will work in collaboration with Saft Batteries (Valdosta, Ga.), the Electric Power Research Institute (Knoxville, Tenn.), and California Independent System Operator (Folsum, Calif.). This project creates innovative inverters using energy storage and 2-way communications between solar electrical systems and utilities. DOE cost share: up to $1.5 million
Florida Solar Energy Center/UCF: Florida Solar Energy Center will work with Satcon Technology Corp. (Boston), SENTECH, Inc. (Bethesda, Md.), SunEdison (Beltsville, Md.), Cooper Power Systems EAS (Minneapolis), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, S.D.), and Lakeland Electric Utilities (Lakeland, Fla.). This project focuses on solving technical challenges that must be overcome to include higher PV penetration levels in larger electrical systems. DOE cost share: up to $1.3 million.