The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has awarded approximately $2.79 million in California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration program grants to the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to help the state stimulate solar energy research and build a sustainable solar market.
The grants awarded to NREL are part of the commission's first solicitation for projects that focus on integrating photovoltaics into the utility grid. NREL researchers will work on three distinct projects, leading two and participating in another.
NREL will direct development of a software tool that will optimize energy investments in the residential retrofit market and lead a project to analyze high penetration levels of photovoltaics into California's electricity distribution grid.
The residential software modeling tool, called Building Energy Optimizer for California Existing Homes, will facilitate balanced integration of energy efficiency, demand response and energy storage with photovoltaics on residences.Â Partners include Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Davis Energy Group, Energy and Environmental Economics and SunPower Corp.
NREL will also work with Southern California Edison and other project partners to model, simulate and test advanced hardware and software that can be installed on the distribution grid to accelerate integration of large photovoltaic systems onto the grid.
In addition, NREL will participate in a project led by Clean Power Research to develop a free solar resource model that builds on an existing photovoltaic model platform to enhance resolution of satellite-based resource data. The purpose is to create a free tool that can be used by California solar system installers, manufacturers, agencies, utilities and others who provide clean energy power systems.