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EPRI to Lead Research to Maximize Solar and Energy Storage Integration

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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 today 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.

About EPRI
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, affordability, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent approximately 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to more than 30 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.Car; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at www.energy.gov/sunshot.

CONTACT: Annie Haas EPRI Communication Manager Cell: 704-608-6314 ahaas@epri.comSource:Electric Power Research Institute