DOE Releases Funding For Solar Energy Grid Integration, New RE Loan Guarantees


Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the investment of up to $11.8 million – $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – for five projects designed to advance the next stage of development of solar energy grid integration systems (SEGIS).

Initiated in 2008, the SEGIS activity is a partnership that includes the Department of Energy (DOE), Sandia National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and universities and emphasizes complete system development. Selected projects include the following:

PVPowered of Bend, Ore., will partner with Portland General Electric, South Dakota State University and Northern Plains Power Technologies, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and SENSUS. The project will reinforce the fundamental objectives of the SEGIS program to optimize interconnections across the full range of emerging PV module technologies through systems integration.

Petra Solar of South Plainfield, N.J., will work with the University of Central Florida and 15 electric utilities. This project supports improving reliability and resiliency so that high levels of PV integration can be adapted.

Princeton Power of Princeton, N.J., will work with Transistor Device Inc., LaGuardia Community College, Idyllwild Municipal Water District, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Premier Power, SPG Solar and Spire. This project focuses on lowering manufacturing costs through integrated controls for energy storage and develops new inverter designs.

Apollo Solar of Bethel, Conn., will work in collaboration with Saft Batteries, the Electric Power Research Institute and California Independent System Operator. This project creates inverters using energy storage and two-way communications between solar electrical systems and utilities.

Florida Solar Energy Center will work with Satcon Technology Corp., SENTECH Inc., SunEdison, Cooper Power Systems EAS, Northern Plains Power Technologies and Lakeland Electric Utilities. This project focuses on solving technical challenges that must be overcome to include higher PV penetration levels in larger electrical systems.

In addition, Chu has announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $30 billion in loan guarantees, depending on the applications and market conditions, for renewable energy projects.

Another $750 million will support several billion dollars more in loan guarantees for projects that increase the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation's transmission system. The two new loan-guarantee solicitations are being funded partly through the Recovery Act and partly through 2009 appropriations, the DOE says.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy

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