EPRI Receives Funding to Support Solar Research


The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been awarded $10.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to support research and development related to bringing more solar energy onto the grid.

“This research aims to identify and mitigate risks related to adding more photovoltaic generation capacity,” says EPRI’s Arshad Mansoor. “Considered as a group, these projects bring advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence and traditional field-based research to inform the deployment of advanced solar generation to support grid reliability and resilience.”

SETO is funding five EPRI projects across multiple topic areas:

  • SETO awarded $4.1 million for EPRI’s project “Adaptive Protection and Validated Models to Enable Deployment of High Penetration of Solar PV (PV-MOD)” to develop and validate high-fidelity models of PV facilities for power system engineers’ use in planning, operating, and protecting transmission and distribution systems to enhance their resilience, safety, and reliability. The team will also develop and demonstrate adaptive protection schemes for distribution systems.
  • The EPRI project “Enable Behind the Meter (BTM) Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Provided Grid Services that Maximize Customer and Grid Benefits” was awarded $3 million to research, develop, and demonstrate aggregation and control systems that enhance reliability and economically efficient grid services. The team also will develop grid services guidelines through an industry collaboration.
  • EPRI’s project “Automating Detection and Diagnosis of Faults, Failures, and Underperformance in PV Plants” was awarded $2 million to advance the detection and diagnosis of subtle sources of underperformance of solar facilities to increase their productivity.
  • $1.4 million was awarded for “Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Light Detection and Ranging/Camera Technologies to Detect Avian Events and Other Environmental Measures at Utility-Scale Power Plants.” The EPRI-led team will develop machine learning and vision models for monitoring birds at solar facilities using drones and long-term imaging sensors.
  • EPRI was awarded $200,000 to evaluate PV plant design innovations to reduce costs and enable more dispatchable solar energy as part of the project, “Techno-economic Analysis of Novel PV Plant Designs for Extreme Cost Reductions.”
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