PROJECT PROFILE: University of California Berkeley (ENERGISE)

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Title: Phasor-Based Control for Scalable Solar Photovoltaic Integration
Funding Opportunity: ENERGISE
SunShot Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: Berkeley, CA
Amount Awarded: $1,458,356
Awardee Cost Share: $573,114

This project designs, implements, and validates an innovative framework to enable penetration levels of solar photovoltaic generation greater than 100 percent on the distribution grid. By explicitly controlling the voltage magnitude and phase angle at specific network nodes, this framework simultaneously addresses multiple operational challenges, including high resource variability, reverse power flow, grid visibility, and coordination between transmission and distribution systems. The framework solves the problem of complex interdependencies in large networks by creating options for partitioning the grid both physically and computationally.

Approach

The research team will produce a proof of concept of the phasor-based control paradigm beginning with an individual distribution feeder. They will then focus on increasing the complexity and scale of the framework by increasing the number of virtually connected nodes, tying together the local and supervisory controllers, and implementing the local controller on actual hardware. The framework will be tested based on carefully curated circuit models.

Innovation

This project will develop a framework that is capable of handling incredibly high amounts of solar energy on the electric grid. The work integrates several cutting-edge threads of research and development, including high-precision micro-phasor measurements, analytics relating phasor profiles to dynamic and unbalanced power flows, decentralized adaptive control algorithms, and simulation capabilities, to effectively characterize large networks with diverse, variable, and distributed energy resources.