Fraunhofer CSE-led team wins Energy Department SHINES award to integrate solar PV, energy storage, and facility load management at utility distribution scale

A Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE)-led team has been selected for a $3.5M Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

BOSTON, Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE)-led team has been selected for a $3.5M Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The three-year award will be used to design, develop, deploy a fully functional and integrated photovoltaic (PV), energy storage, and a facility load management system at the utility distribution scale and demonstrate in Massachusetts for at least one year. Fraunhofer CSE, with National Grid and its industry and state government partners, will match the award and put $3.5M towards the project.

Currently, one of the biggest challenges facing utilities is how to integrate large quantities of PV production with the electric grid without compromising power reliability and quality. The Fraunhofer CSE-led project, called "SunDial," will create a management system to mitigate the intermittency of electricity. SunDial will tightly integrate PV, energy storage, and aggregated facility load management to actively manage net system power flows to and from the feeder - regardless of whether these individual components are co-located at the same site, or distributed at different sites. Working together, these systems will address the two greatest issues currently inhibiting high-penetration of PV on the grid - the intermittency of PV generation and the mismatch between electric loads and electric generation.

"This project builds on Fraunhofer CSE's work on solar PV, grid integration of renewables, and building load management, including 'real-world' integration with utilities, municipalities, and other stakeholders involved in integrating PV and other renewables into the grid," states Dr. Christian Hoepfner, Center Director of Fraunhofer CSE.

"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 years ahead," as stated by Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson in the Department of Energy press release.

The project team, led by Fraunhofer CSE, will create an open-source framework that builds upon existing interoperability data models to facilitate integration among PV plant developers, load aggregators, independent system operators and utilities across a range of use cases and business models.

About the Participants

The goal of the Department of Energy, EERE, SHINES Funding Opportunity is to enable the development and demonstration of integrated, scalable, and cost-effective technologies for solar that incorporates energy storage and works seamlessly to meet both consumer needs and the needs of the electricity grid. Such an integrated solution should utilize smart inverters, and be capable of working with smart buildings, smart appliances, and utility communication and control systems. The solutions thus developed will enable widespread sustainable deployment of low-cost, flexible, and reliable PV generation, and provide for successful integration of PV power plants with the electric grid.

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.

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) is a non-profit applied research and development laboratory dedicated to fostering economic development through the commercialization of clean energy technologies for the benefit of society. With a focus in building energy technologies, solar photovoltaics, distributed electrical energy systems, start-up assistance, and technical validation, Fraunhofer CSE engages in collaborative research with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. Fraunhofer CSE is one of seven centers of Fraunhofer USA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit contract R&D organization, a subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe's largest contract R&D organization.

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is one of the largest investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in the Northeast, connecting nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. National Grid's operating companies were among the first in the U.S. to gather experience with distributed PV generation about 30 years ago. More recently, National Grid has actively participated and invested in research and demonstration projects regarding microgrids for resiliency and advanced PV inverter functionality for grid support.

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