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PROJECT PROFILE: Fraunhofer USA, Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE (SHINES)

Title: SunDial - An Integrated SHINES System to Enable High-Penetration Feeder-Level Photovoltaics
Fraunhofer logo.pngFunding OpportunitySustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV
SunShot SubprogramSystems Integration
Location: Boston, Massachusetts 
Partners: National Grid, EnerNOC 
Amount Awarded: $3,493,921
Awardee Cost Share: $3,560,744

In order to reduce the impact of photovoltaics (PV) on the grid, researchers will develop and demonstrate a scalable, high-performance solution to manage the integration of commercial and utility-scale PV, energy storage, and commercial and industrial facility loads at the feeder level. The developed control platform, SunDial, tightly integrates PV, energy storage, and aggregated facility load management to manage net system power flows to and from the feeder. The project team will deploy and test the proposed control platform on a high penetration PV feeder, thereby demonstrating the effectiveness of an integrated solution on addressing key challenges to high penetration of PV. 


The SunDial system enables PV plants to act as dispatchable nodes from the point of view of the bulk power distribution system, while limiting the need for energy storage and without constraining the location of the plant to specific sites on a feeder. It does this by using a global scheduler, which acquires and evaluates performance data from participating PV systems, a facility load aggregation and management engine (FLAME), energy storage systems, as well as weather predictions and utility/independent system operator market data. Based on these sources, it determines the optimal system response and communicates updated operational profiles to the participating energy storage and facilities (via the FLAME), where they are implemented. 


If successful, SunDial could potentially participate in ISO-level markets. Depending on market and regulatory framework, it could also sell directly to load-serving entities or engage in bi-lateral agreements with customers. SunDial has the potential to open up new business models for PV, energy storage, and controllable load assets and make these distributed assets more valuable to utilities as well as customers.