DOE announces awards for up to US$11m for new solar energy grid integration systems

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced today 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 announced today are part of DOE's continuing work to help assure 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.

'Solar energy will be a critical factor in achieving the President's goal of creating new jobs as part of a clean energy economy,' said Secretary Chu. 'By integrating renewable energy onto the grid now, we can deliver power more reliably and effectively, lower utility bills for American families, and help rebuild our economy along the way.'

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. These projects ultimately 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 today include:

PVPowered of Bend, Oregon: PVPowered will partner with Portland General Electric (Portland, Oregon), South Dakota State University (Brookings, South Dakota), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, South Dakota), Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (Pullman, Washington), and SENSUS (Raleigh, North Carolina). 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, New Jersey: Petra Solar will work with the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida) and fifteen 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, New Jersey: Princeton Power will work with Transistor Device Inc (TDI), LaGuardia Community College (New York, New York), Idyllwild Municipal Water District (San Diego, California), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Princeton, New Jersey), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Princeton, New Jersey), Premier Power, SPG Solar (Novato, California), and Spire (Bedford, Massachusetts). 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, Connecticut: Apollo Solar will work in collaboration with Saft Batteries (Valdosta, Georgia), the Electric Power Research Institute (Knoxville, Tennessee), and California Independent System Operator (Folsum, California). This project creates innovative inverters using energy storage and two-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 Corporation (Boston, Massachusetts), SENTECH, Inc. (Bethesda, Maryland), SunEdison (Beltsville, Maryland), Cooper Power Systems EAS (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, South Dakota), and Lakeland Electric Utilities (Lakeland, Florida). 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.

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