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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.
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.