U.S. Solar + Energy Storage Funding Announced

Solar and storage fundingImage: BigStock

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $18 million in funding for six new projects concerned with integrated, scalable and economical solar + storage technologies.

“Energy storage, solar PV and smart grid technologies experienced incredible growth in 2015, and we expect they will play an increasingly important role in reaching the nation’s climate and clean energy goals in the coming years,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

The funding is part of the Energy Department’s Grid Modernization Initiative, operating under the SunShot Initiative.

One of the projects to gain funding will involve integration of solar PV based generation, energy storage, load management and solar forecasting. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will lead the collaboration that also consists various universities, companies and utilities.

“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.”

The DOE will contribute $3.1 million and the EPRI team $3.2 million to the project.

Others to receive funding included Carnegie Mellon University; which will receive $1 million to develop and demonstrate a system to integrate smart inverters, energy storage, and readily available home automation controllers and smart thermostats.

Fraunhofer USA is the recipient of $3.5 million, earmarked for the development of a scalable, integrated PV, storage, and facility load management solution through the SunDial Global Scheduler system.

Others to receive funding include Hawaiian Electric Company, Commonwealth Edison Company and Austin Energy. Further details regarding each project can be viewed here.

“Ultimately, the solutions developed under this effort will enable the sustainable and holistic integration of hundreds of gigawatts of additional solar energy onto the electric grid throughout the United States,” says a statement from DOE.

The SunShot Initiative, launched in 2010, seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation by the end of the decade. It’s a goal that some would consider has already been achieved. However, by the Energy Department’s benchmarks, the solar industry is more than 70% of the way to achieving SunShot’s cost target.