Energy and Climate

Sandia National Laboratories’ Grid Integration Program addresses technical barriers to large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in grid-tied power systems. Sandia’s grid integration research focuses on three primary tasks related to high-penetration PV:

  • expanding and disseminating technical knowledge and understanding related to grid performance, reliability, forecasting, and costs of integration;
  • developing integrated solutions to optimize the balance between energy generation, storage, and consumption through new technologies and advanced controls, at local and regional levels; and
  • communicating our research and analysis to help industry and regulators develop effective and appropriate performance standards and codes.

Sandia’s PV Systems Integration program utilizes laboratory facilities such as the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory to conduct lab-controlled, real-world simulations that research advancements in modeling and simulation, analysis, system testing and evaluation, technology development, codes and standards, and industry coordination. The PV Systems Integration program also draws from Sandia’s expertise in related disciplines such as microsystems, cybersecurity, energy storage, materials science, advanced controls, and microgrids, and is an integral part of Sandia’s larger portfolio of renewable energy technology programs (Wind, Concentrating Solar Power, Geothermal, and Energy Systems Analysis).

Transmission Grid Integration

The goal of Sandia’s FY12 annual operating plan is to reduce technical barriers to large-scale solar generation deployment on the transmission system. Over the last three years, utility-scale PV deployment is growing at a faster rate than residential or commercial deployment. However, the rate of deployment faces significant technical barriers due to the fact that existing standards, technology, models, tools and practices are not adequate for PV systems. In particular, utilities are concerned about the cost of managing PV variability and uncertainty, and possible impact on bulk grid performance. These concerns apply to large PV installations, as well as the aggregated effect of distributed PV. Sandia will contribute to solving some of the most critical challenges by improving models and tools for utility planning and operations, and ensure effective collaboration among critical stakeholders. Tasks directly support priority gaps identified in the Systems Integration multiyear program plan. Ability to increase deployment on the bulk power system is a requirement to achieving the Solar Vision and make progress toward DOE SunShot initiative objectives.

Distribution Grid Integration

The goal of Sandia’s FY12 annual operating plan is to address technical barriers to large-scale solar generation deployment on the distribution system. While there is a long history of PV deployment on distribution systems, penetration levels have been very low. The prospect of high-penetration scenarios requires improvements in standards, utility practices, analysis methods, and simulation tools. Sandia will contribute to solving some of the most critical challenges by improving models and tools for utility planning and operations, and ensure effective collaboration among critical stakeholders. Tasks directly support priority gaps identified in the Systems Integration multiyear program plan. The ability to increase deployment on the distribution grid is a requirement to achieving the Solar Vision and make progress toward DOE SunShot initiative objectives.

Solar Energy Grid Integration System (SEGIS)

SEGIS is a Sandia-initiated technology-development concept that the DOE embraced. Its goal is to provide federal support to parties interested in thinking about what components will be needed to bring this smart grid into reality and move industry toward that vision—to build the platforms that will be ready to implement these new power generation and distribution concepts when the market is ready for them.the first round of technology development has been successfully completed.

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