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Solar energy is both predictable—the sun rises and sets everyday—and intermittent—a passing cloud can reduce a 1 MW photovoltaic (PV) array from 100% of its power generating capacity to 10% in a matter of seconds. This intermittency limits this renewable-energy (RE) source and how much of it is integrated into today’s electricity grid.
To alleviate this issue and improve throughput for solar-based RE solutions, Sandia and Princeton Power Systems Inc. (PPS) teamed to develop the demand response inverter (DRI)—a power flow control system that integrates RE sources with buildings and the electric grid. By increasing RE throughput, this technology adds value for both the system owner and local utility by dynamically managing the generation and dispatch of solar energy. The added flexibility and responsiveness of this approach mitigates RE intermittency, providing very high conversion efficiency and reliability—encouraging high penetration of PV power systems into the electrical grid.
Guiding and reviewing PPS’s product design from technical development to commercialization, Sandia helped ensure the DRI’s commercial viability. Success required acute attention to details such as performance, cost, and manufacturability. As a first-of-its-kind product, the DRI set a new bar in the state of power-electronics systems by facilitating a transition from passive, dispersed installations to highly integrated, utility-supported behind-the-meter PV deployments.
Read more about the ECIS-Princeton Power Systems Inc. partnership.