The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week approved seven grants totaling up to $7.65 million in funding for the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Development, Deployment, and Demonstration (RD&D) Program’s third grant solicitation. The latter’s primary focus is on grid integration of solar energy and a secondary focus is on improved photovoltaic (PV) production technologies and business development and deployment. The seven grant recipients are expected to have matching funds of more than $7.8 million for their projects.
“As California moves to the next level of attaining 33 percent of its electric power from renewable resources, the projects funded today can play an integral part in developing new and improved technologies in the area of photovoltaic production and solar grid integration,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey.
One of the recipients of funds is the University of California San Diego, which will seek to demonstrate that solar resource forecasting is the most cost effective strategy for integrating large amounts of PV into the distribution grid.
“With the forecast, the utility can now see up to two days ahead what the power output from those solar panels will be,” UCSG engineer Jan Kleissl told KPBS. “And that allows them to better plan the scheduling and dispatching of the other power plants.” The UCSD team believes that if improved forecast models were used operationally, ancillary services costs could decrease by 50 percent per additional megawatt of solar PV on the grid.
Elsewhere the Electric Power Research Institute’s research will try to support the integration and interconnection of high penetration PV into the grid by providing California utilities with a useable way of determining available capacity for PV generation on existing distribution feeders.
They say the new methodology will allow California utilities to more quickly screen new applications and accept new PV projects without risk of grid impacts.
Follow the link to find out more about the grants and their recipients.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.