EPRI awarded $10.7 million for research on increasing solar penetration

  • Dec 03, 2019
  • Solar Power World

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The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been awarded $10.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). The funding supports research and development to enhance the secure, resilient and reliable generation and integration of significantly more solar energy and to improve the affordability and performance of solar energy systems and technologies.

“This research aims to identify and mitigate risks related to adding more photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity,” said EPRI senior VP of research and development, Arshad Mansoor. “Considered as a group, these projects bring advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence, and traditional field-based research to inform the deployment of advanced solar generation to support grid reliability and resilience.”

SETO is funding five EPRI projects across multiple topic areas:

SETO awarded $4.1 million for EPRI’s project “Adaptive Protection and Validated Models to Enable Deployment of High Penetration of Solar PV (PV-MOD)” to develop and validate high-fidelity models of PV facilities for power system engineers’ use in planning, operating and protecting transmission and distribution systems to enhance their resilience, safety and reliability. The team will also develop and demonstrate adaptive protection schemes for distribution systems.

The EPRI project “Enable Behind the Meter (BTM) Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Provided Grid Services that Maximize Customer and Grid Benefits” was awarded $3 million to research, develop, and demonstrate aggregation and control systems that enhance reliability and economically efficient grid services. The team also will develop grid services guidelines through an industry collaboration.

EPRI’s project “Automating Detection and Diagnosis of Faults, Failures and Underperformance in PV Plants” was awarded $2 million to advance the detection and diagnosis of subtle sources of underperformance of solar facilities to increase their productivity.

$1.4 million was awarded for “Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Light Detection and Ranging/Camera Technologies to Detect Avian Events and Other Environmental Measures at Utility-Scale Power Plants.” The EPRI-led team will develop machine learning and vision models for monitoring birds at solar facilities using drones and long-term imaging sensors.

EPRI was awarded $200,000 to evaluate PV plant design innovations to reduce costs and enable more dispatchable solar energy as part of the project, “Techno-economic Analysis of Novel PV Plant Designs for Extreme Cost Reductions.”

EPRI was selected as a part of the Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2019 funding program, an effort to invest in new projects that will lower solar electricity costs, while working to boost solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make solar systems more resilient to cyberattack.

These projects were funded as part of three of the program’s five main topics: photovoltaics research and development; soft costs, which supports the reduction of the non-hardware costs of solar; and systems integration, which improves the ability of grid operators to integrate solar generation onto the grid.

News item from the Solar Energy Technologies Office

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