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EPRI Continues Research on Photovoltaic & Grid Storage Integration Program

1/24/2011 Power grid news Smart Power Grid

In 2009, EPRI’s Photovoltaic & Storage Integration Program (P174) began a series of studies related to the high penetration of distributed energy resources (DER). One research area in this program is specifically focused on the communication aspects of DER integration.
This research led, in mid 2009, to the launch of a broad industry collaborative to identify a common means by which smart, communicating inverters may be integrated into utility systems.
The Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Solar Electric Power Association have been historically active in this area of study and have joined with EPRI in steering the overall project. At the present (February 2010), the project has engaged 350 individuals representing inverter providers, utilities, and research organizations.
The central goal of the project is to identify a core set of common inverter capabilities that, if made available, may enable higher penetration levels and enhance the value of grid-tied PV and storage devices. By working closely with the community of inverter manufacturers, the project hopes to allow for innovation and evolution of devices, while at the same time making it possible to standardize communication messages for those functions that are common.

The project was formally kicked-off at a workshop held in Albuquerque, NM during the DOE’s SEGIS-ES conference. At that workshop, a large range of use cases that had been previously collected were down-selected into seven functions that were deemed most needed. More detail about the project history is included in a previous update that was published as Report # 1020435 (available at epri.com).