In its first announcement since Donald Trump (R) was sworn in as President, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) SunShot Initiative announced an investment of up to $30 million to integrate solar energy into the grid. SunShot will fund 13 projects aimed at improving the reliability and security of the electric grid through the latest announcement.
Already the SunShot Initiative has helped reduce the cost of solar power significantly. In fact, the SunShot Initiative has already helped solar power costs lower more than 90 percent over the past five years and it has set new goals. However, there’s more to be done so it is expanding its goals and efforts to make solar power even more accessible and less expensive.
The new projects are aimed at developing the next-generation of grid planning and operation tools. “SunShot is working to lower the cost and complexity of integrating solar with the electric grid,” explained SunShot Director Charlie Gay. “These projects give grid operators the tools to manage a modern electric grid.”
The new projects will be funded under the ENERGISE funding program and are part of the larger Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI). They will provide utilities with dynamic, automated and cost-effective management tools. They are designed to allow electric grid operators to measure and forecast data from distributed energy sources on a minute-by-minute basis. The are designed to optimize system performance using sensor, communication and data analytics technologies.
Under GMI the DOE is developing the concepts, tools, and technologies needed to enable the electric grid of the future. As such, projects awarded in this round of funding will address more than just connecting solar power to the grid at scale, according to DOE. They will also allow technologies like electric vehicles interconnect with the grid.
Awardees include Advanced Microgrid Solutions, the City of Riverside, CA, PPL Electric Utilities in Pennsylvania, Southern California Edison, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and more. Each is providing at least some shared costs to help develop projects and bring them to fruition.
The awards are focussed on multiple layers of grid interconnection from developing low-cost, plug-and-play smart sensors and local control devices to telecommunications and data tools that will help the grid be smarter. Awards also will focus on integrated the new technologies with existing planning and operation tools and will develop advanced methods to model, simulate, and predict distribution power system behaviors using large data sets.Tweet