Energy and Climate

Sandia conducts its grid integration research in partnership with industry, academia, utilities, other national laboratories, research groups, and stakeholder groups. For a list of current collaborations, click here.

Areas of focus for Sandia’s Grid Integration Program include:

  • Operating prototyped PV systems and analyzing resulting data
  • Modeling and analyzing short-term PV variability
  • Developing PV system models for grid planning and interconnection studies
  • Evaluating related PV system technologies in critical areas
  • Participating in timely evolution of codes and standards appropriate for high penetration PV
  • Conducting outreach activities, including participating in and organizing conferences and workshops

These technical activities span both distribution and transmission integration issues. A key current activity of Sandia’s Grid Integration program in the area of transmission grid integration is Sandia’s support for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Systems Integration subprogram, which focuses on understanding and breaking down the regulatory, technical, and economic barriers to integration of solar electricity into the electric grid.

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.

  • Stakeholder Engagement: Critical stakeholder coordination and engagement including WWSIS, UWIG, and NERC IVGTF, and SAR support.
  • Field Data Collection: High-value field data collection to support priority analysis and model validation activities.
  • Models and Tools: Implementing standard PV generation models and guidelines for bulk-level planning and interconnection studies.
  • Operational Analysis: Applying advanced decision-support tools to power system operations with high-penetration PV.
  • Predictive Models: Improving methods for synthesizing high-resolution output profiles and forecasts to support solar integration studies.

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