U.S. Department of Energy

Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy

On October 2013, DOE announced nearly $7.8 million to fund eight projects under the Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) funding opportunity. These projects are helping utilities develop adaptable and replicable practices, long-term strategic plans, and technical solutions to sustain reliable operations with large proportions of solar power on the grid.

Part of the SunShot Systems Integration efforts, the following projects were selected under this competitive solicitation.


PEPCO Holdings Inc. ($979,293)
Washington, D.C.
PEPCO Holdings Inc. (PHI) is quantifying the individual and combined effects of solar power plants on system efficiency and reliability using integrated power system planning, monitoring, and control analysis over PHI's entire service area. This project will result in a significant increase in solar penetration capacity in the distribution system, 10%–15% beyond where it would be in PHI's service territory.

AWS TruePower ($391,773)
Albany, New York
AWS Truepower is working to enable the California power system operator (CAISO) to incorporate distributed solar directly into power system operations and analyze the resulting benefits from more cost-effective unit commitment and dispatch, as well as reduction in balancing reserves. This project will reduce the uncertainty of solar power production and hence the costs of bulk power system integration of solar generation.

Clean Power Research ($500,000)
Napa, California
Clean Power Research is working to improve the accuracy of load forecasting in California that can be realized from forecasts of behind-the-meter distributed (rooftop) solar photovoltaic (PV) generation. This project will reduce the costs of integrating higher penetrations of PV into the grid by incorporating distributed PV generation forecasts into utility planning and operational tools in California, as a replicable and scalable approach that other areas of the country could follow.

Hawaiian Electric Company ($500,000)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has two different energy management systems (EMS) in the islands of Oahu and Maui, and already has very high solar penetration. This project will enable visibility to distributed rooftop PV resources and factor advanced short-term wind and solar forecasting capability into the EMS decision making process. The project will motivate technology development to enable operational change under high renewables penetration, thereby reducing the cost and impact of integrating large amounts of solar power in Hawaii.

University of California, San Diego ($499,900)
La Jolla, California
The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is demonstrating an operational tool for reducing costs associated with real-time dispatch and automatic generation control for different solar penetration scenarios in the Sacramento region, using innovative clustering analysis on the expected solar variability per region in Sacramento. This project will also provide operators a prediction of the generation fleet's behavior in real time for realistic PV penetration scenarios.

ELECTRICORE, Inc. ($420,155)
Valencia, California
ELECTRICORE and its partners are developing a simulation and decision support toolset for real-time operations personnel that simulates the utility grid in real time and is integrated within the existing distribution management system of the San Diego Gas & Electric utility. This project will result in improved day-ahead generation commitments and real-time operations as well as increased reliability and system balancing from improved visibility, thereby enabling more efficient and innovative management of utility assets.

Electric Power Research Institute ($873,347)
Knoxville, Tennessee
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is collaborating with utilities and other partners to develop high penetration solar future scenarios in the southeastern United States, distribution grid feeder clustering and characterization, and models for solar generation hosting capacity and power production simulation. This will result in an end-to-end strategy and operations project that leverages prior efforts, including DOE-funded projects, and provides a pathway for successfully integrating large amounts of solar generation.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association ($3,645,657)
Arlington, Virginia
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is developing standard designs for 0.25-megawatt (MW), 0.5-MW, and 1-MW solar projects and accelerating PV maturity at electric cooperatives through these standardized designs, streamlined financing, packaged insurance, and extensive training and outreach. NRECA will partner with 15 cooperatives in 16 states covering more than 150 counties to deploy 23 MW in less than three years with aggressive cost reduction targets. This project's replicable designs and models are expected to help a significant number of the 800+ electric cooperatives nationwide.