$1.6 million grant to optimize solar deployment on UCSD campus microgrid


Audrey Zibelman,
President & CEO,
Viridity Energy
San Diego, CA and Conshohocken, PA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 18, 2010 – A $1.66 million grant for a distributed energy optimization project at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has been awarded to Viridity Energy.

Viridity Energy will employ autonomous, real-time dispatch of distributed energy resources to integrate large volumes of PV into the UC San Diego microgrid, with the aim to overcome the technology and regulatory barriers to enable wide-scale deployment of distributed solar generation to meet the California Solar Initiative (CSI) goal of 3,000 MW of installed PV.

Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3), a San Francisco based energy consulting firm and leader in cost-benefit analysis and rate design for distributed energy resources, will evaluate the cost effectiveness and alternative management strategies and tariff designs as a sub-contractor to Viridity Energy. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will also provide active support to ensure that the project provides meaningful results for utility and grid operators.

The project team will develop innovative utility tariffs and incentives and demonstrate PV integration with distributed energy resources management strategies in a live, real-time environment via Viridity Energy’s VPower™ platform solution. The platform will provide a “virtual generator” dispatchable by SDG&E, and into the regional transmission operator system run by the CAISO.

“The project addresses two key challenges by overcoming a myriad of communication and technical barriers while designing rates that fairly balance costs and benefits, promote PV adoption and find customer acceptance,” said Audrey Zibelman, President and CEO of Viridity Energy. “Collectively, the results will serve as a representative test bed for strategies replicable at sites representing over 15,000 MW of load in California alone.”

The project was awarded by the State of California with funding through the CSI Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (RD&D) program, which focuses on improved photovoltaic (PV) production technologies and innovative business practices, and will be administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The UC San Diego microgrid serves a daily population of 45,000, with an instantaneous peak demand of 42 MW and self generating 82 percent of its annual load on campus.