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DOE Funds $36 Million in Research on Advanced Technologies for Solar Integration

March 26, 2019
The technologies seek to enable grid operators to integrate increasing amounts of solar generation onto the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected up to $36 million in research projects aimed at advancing solar energy’s role in the electricity grid. Six universities and Siemens Corp.’s corporate technology office in Princeton, NJ, were selected for funding of $1 million to $5 million for their research proposals.

The projects will develop new technologies, including: “grid-forming” inverters, cyber-secure communications for critical grid components during emergency operations, smart sensors, and automated control schemes. The technologies seek to enable grid operators to integrate increasing amounts of solar generation onto the grid in a cost-effective, secure, resilient, and reliable manner.

DOE said in a release that the research will culminate in grid management tools and models that show how solar situational awareness will enhance power system resilience at critical infrastructure locations such as hospitals or emergency response centers.

The projects are expected to enable grid operators to rapidly detect physical and cyber-based abnormalities in the power system and utilize solar generation to recover quickly from power outages, in many cases without human control.

The following research projects were selected:

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ):  $3.6 million

Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS):  $2.9 million

North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC):  $3 million

Siemens Corporation, Corporate Technology (Princeton, NJ):  $5 million

University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC):  $3.7 million

University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK):  $4.5 million

University of South Florida (Tampa, FL):  $1 million

DOE also selected three organizations that will conduct field validation of the advanced technologies that the funded projects develop:

Electric Power Research Institute, Inc., Knoxville, TN, with multiple partners, including Pecan Street and Austin Energy:  $5 million

Electrical Distribution Design, Inc., Blacksburg, VA, partnering with Pepco:  $3 million

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, partnering with PacificCorp:  $4 million

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