Through the Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (RD&D) Program of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the state is awarding a $1.8 million grant that will enable Sun Power — a California solar panel manufacturer — to complete its research. Theproject is possible thanks to a new round of CSI research funding, which was recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission(CPUC). The RD&D branch funds projects specifically aimed atspeeding the adoption and reducing the cost of solar energy.
According to the plan, SunPower will partner with three energystorage companies — Ice Energy, Xtreme Power and ZBB Energy — to develop a pilot program to demonstrate the operational and economic benefitscreated by pairing photovoltaic (PV) panels with storage devices. Theend goal is to eliminate the need for solar-powered facilities to havefossil-fuel-powered backups for use during periods of little or nosunlight. If costs are brought down, large-scale solar energy storagecould offer a useful complement to large commercial solar installations.