SMUD and HECO get $2.97 million grant to investigate PV integration with AMI


Michael R. Peevey,
President, CPUC
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 13, 2010 – A grant of $2.97 million was awarded recently to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) for an initiative that will help integrate increased levels of photovoltaics (PV) into the grid in beneficial ways.

The initiative will demonstrate and test new hardware and software tools that will provide communication and management between PV systems and utility controls using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The tools will be tested and validated at residential, commercial, and utility-scale deployments in California and Hawaii, and will then be made available to utilities and the industry.

The project will receive up to $2,968,432 in funding from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Development, Deployment, and Demonstration (RD&D) Program, while $1,293,259 will be contributed in match funding.

The grant is one of eight that were approved last month by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for projects focusing on the integration of increased PV into the utility grid. These will include development and modeling, as well as the identification of new circuit configurations that will help increase penetration levels of PV.

A second round of CSI RD&D funding applications focusing on improved PV production technologies and innovative business models are currently under review, and the awardees are expected to be announced in mid-2010.

The CSI RD&D program is investing $50 million running through 2016 to fund solar research and demonstration projects that will measurably reduce the cost and accelerate the installation of solar and other distributed technologies that could employ solar for generation, storage, or that could reduce the use of natural gas.

“The California Solar Initiative is one of the greatest focused efforts to promote solar photovoltaics ever seen and is designed to help build a sustainable solar industry. Integrating substantial amounts of PV into the grid is part of that vision,” said CPUC president Michael R. Peevey. “The research projects will remove barriers and provide key insights into how we can efficiently use the energy from PV being produced on a million solar roofs.”