TheCalifornia Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has awardedapproximately $2.79 million in California Solar Initiative Research,Development, Deployment and Demonstration program grants to theDepartment of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tohelp the state stimulate solar energy research and build a sustainablesolar market.
The grants awarded to NREL are part of thecommission’s first solicitation for projects that focus on integratingphotovoltaics into the utility grid. NREL researchers will work on three distinct projects, leading two and participating in another.
NREL will direct development of a software tool that will optimize energyinvestments in the residential retrofit market and lead a project toanalyze high penetration levels of photovoltaics into California’selectricity distribution grid.
The residential software modelingtool, called Building Energy Optimizer for California Existing Homes,will facilitate balanced integration of energy efficiency, demandresponse and energy storage with photovoltaics on residences. Partnersinclude Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Davis Energy Group, Energy andEnvironmental Economics and SunPower Corp.
NREL will also workwith Southern California Edison and other project partners to model,simulate and test advanced hardware and software that can be installedon the distribution grid to accelerate integration of large photovoltaic systems onto the grid.
In addition, NREL will participate in aproject led by Clean Power Research to develop a free solar resourcemodel that builds on an existing photovoltaic model platform to enhanceresolution of satellite-based resource data. The purpose is to create afree tool that can be used by California solar system installers,manufacturers, agencies, utilities and others who provide clean energypower systems.