Systems Integration

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Using Storage to Improve Grid Resiliency
A Systems Integration project in Texas is testing battery storage solutions for solar energy.

The Systems Integration (SI) subprogram seeks to enable the widespread deployment of secure, reliable, and cost effective solar energy on the nation’s electricity grid by addressing the associated technical and organizational challenges. 

The installed cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) have fallen significantly in recent years, spurring significant growth and accelerating deployment of solar energy systems. 

The anticipated proliferation of solar power at the centralized and distributed scales emphasizes the need for timely and cost effective interconnection procedures, accurate prediction of solar resources, and monitoring and control of solar power. Moreover, the impact of solar energy on the performance and reliability of transmission and distribution power systems is becoming a larger challenge.

To proactively anticipate and address potential challenges under a scenario in which hundreds of gigawatts (GW) of solar energy are interconnected to the electricity grid, the SI program funds research that addresses these challenges in four broad, inter-related areas:

  • Grid Performance and Reliability: Enhance the efficiency and reliability of electric transmission and distribution systems in a cost-effective, secure, and reliable manner.
     
  • Dispatchability: Ensure that solar power is available on-demand, when and where it is needed and at the desired amounts, in a manner that is comparable to or better than conventional power plants.
     
  • Power Electronics: Use devices to maximize the power output from solar power plants and interface with the electric grid (or end use circuits), while ensuring overall system performance, safety, reliability, and controllability at minimum cost.
     
  • Communications: Develop innovative infrastructure to inform as well as monitor and control generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption of solar energy effectively under broad temporal and spatial scales.

Through competitive funding solicitations, the SI program supports concept development, laboratory simulations, feasibility studies, and other holistic, near-term solutions that map to the four primary activity areas. 

View the systems integration fact sheet (PDF).

Systems Integration Success Stories

EERE Success Story—Electric Cooperatives Channel Solar Resources to Rural American Communities

Some of the most remote areas in the United States were among the last locations to access electricity, with as many as nine out of 10 rural homes...

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EERE Success Story—SunShot-funded Advanced Inverter Testing Enables 2,500 Solar Energy Systems to Connect to Hawaii’s Electric Grid

Thanks to a SunShot collaboration at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in December 2015 Hawaiian Electric...

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EERE Success Story—EPRI Lays Foundation for Smart Inverter Technology

Advanced inverters are a critical enabler of high solar photovoltaic (PV) penetrations because of their smart functionalities and ability to...

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EERE Success Story-NREL Partners with Google in Little Box Challenge

Last month, Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) announced Belgium’s Red Electrical Devils (a team from CE+T...

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EERE Success Story—Solar Forecasting Gets a Boost from Watson, Accuracy Improved by 30%

Remember when IBM’s super computer Watson defeated Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter? With funding from the U.S. Department of...

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EERE Success Story—SunShot Funding Spurs Standardized Testing for “Smart” Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are one of the most important components of a solar energy system. These power electronic devices convert the direct current...

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Workshops & Events

Industry workshops help to solicit a wide range of stakeholder feedback to guide the SETO mission. Learn more about the workshops that have identified barriers and opportunities to greater solar deployment.

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