U.S. Department of Energy to invest up to $11.8 million in solar energy grid integration systems

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Up to $11.8 million will be invested by the U.S. Department of Energy in five projects designed to advance the next stage of development of solar energy grid integration systems (SEGIS), as part of a partnership program begun by DOE in 2008. The selected projects focus on the most promising technology advances and include development of intelligent system controls.

“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 Energy Secretary Steven 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.”

The five selections include:

  • PVPowered ( Bend, OR): PVPowered will partner with Portland General Electric (Portland, OR), South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, SD), Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (Pullman, WA), and Sensus (Raleigh, NC).  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 (South Plainfield, NJ):  Petra Solar will work with the University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) and fifteen electric utilities with service in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, 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, NJ: Princeton Power will work with Transistor Device Inc (TDI), LaGuardia Community College (New York, NY), Idyllwild Municipal Water District (San Diego, CA), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Princeton, NJ), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Princeton, NJ), Premier Power, SPG Solar (Novato, CA), and Spire (Bedford, MA).   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, CT: Apollo Solar will work in collaboration with Saft Batteries (Valdosta, GA), the Electric Power Research Institute (Knoxville, TN), and California Independent System Operator (Folsom, CA).  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 (Boston, MA), Sentech (Bethesda, MD), SunEdison (Beltsville, MD), Cooper Power Systems EAS (Minneapolis, MN), Northern Plains Power Technologies (Brookings, SD), and Lakeland Electric Utilities (Lakeland, FL).  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)

About $5 million of the allocated funds will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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