The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will lead a three-year collaboration to investigate the end-to-end grid integration of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation, energy storage, load management, and solar forecasting.
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative announced in January a cooperative research award to support the collaborative, which includes universities, companies and utilities. The funding was awarded under DOE's Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV or SHINES program. The goal of the research project is to support the transformation of electric power system design and operation to seamlessly integrate solar PV and energy storage.
The total value of the research agreement will be about $6.3 million, with DOE contributing $3.1 million and the EPRI team providing a $3.2 million cost share.
EPRI will collaborate with several utilities to develop and demonstrate the proposed integrated technologies in their service territories. They are FirstEnergy, New York Power Authority (NYPA), Con Edison, along with Southern Company and subsidiary Gulf Power.
Participants in the project include Case Western Reserve University, City University of New York (CUNY) Queens College, Sustainable CUNY, and industrial collaborators Alstom Grid, Clean Power Research, Eaton, LG Chem, and PowerHub. All collaborators will play critical roles in the design, development, and demonstration phases of the project.
"Solar PV and energy storage introduce a new level of opportunity and complexity in the delicate balancing act performed by grid planners every day," said Mike Howard, president and CEO of EPRI. "This effort can help integrate important components of our future energy system."
"By applying insights from this project, we can make the grid ready for the next wave of new energy storage technologies, digital technologies, and renewable energy in a way that's cost-competitive and supports customer value," he added.
In order to realize and demonstrate the sustainable and holistic integration of energy storage and solar, the key innovation of this research project is the design, development, and demonstration of a two-level control architecture using optimal strategies. For example:
- A system controller strategy which maintains wide area reliability of the electric system through coordinated control of multiple, local controllers and other distribution equipment; and
- A local controller strategy which makes solar PV more predictable through efficient utilization of energy storage, load management, smart inverters, and solar/load forecasting, and also responds to system controller needs.
The scope of the research effort will include evaluation of:
- End-to-end integrated systems through a two-level control architecture with optimal control strategies;
- Controllable distributed energy resources, which combine energy storage, load management, and demand response with solar PV;
- Improved predictability of solar PV generation through high-resolution solar forecasting;
- Reduced-lifetime solar-plus-storage system cost through integrating smart inverters with improved reliability;
- Optimum operation of distributed resources and controller settings through distribution feeder modeling and impact studies;
- Interoperable and scalable solutions using open communication standards and protocols; and
- Benefit-cost assessment of the integrated, distributed energy resources.