Utility-sector policies can enable or hinder solar markets. Clear policy and regulation translation and implementation protect market stakeholders and reduces the “back and forth” during project development and at other times. Sandia is active in disseminating technical information to inform those who make policy and design regulations. One approach is through training. Educational seminars raise the level of knowledge among key organizations and decision makers involved in formulating solar-related policies, so that they have the necessary information to make sound decisions impacting the solar market place. For example, in late 2011, Sandia organized an intensive two-day Hawaii Public Utility Commission (PUC) seminar for the Hawaii PUC regulatory staff, the Consumer Advocate Staff and Hawaiian utilities.

Typically, information consists of

  • Technical electric grid basics and renewable energy integration: Distribution and transmission
  • Performance and reliability of PV systems in the grid
  • Communication of research results on updated procedures for interconnection of PV on distribution feeders, and also cover transmission interconnection procedures

The recently published “Updating Interconnection Screens for PV System Integration” white paper is designed to be useful in the regulatory arena.

Work in this area is supported by the DOE, which maintains a Solar Energy Technologies Program: High Penetration Solar Portal at https://solarhighpen.energy.gov/.

Technical assistance is also an important role of the Sandia in supporting the market. Through design of studies and by making R&D results known to targeted audiences, we seek to support a sound basis derived from technology assessments.

Some of our work in this area includes:

  • Kauai Island Utility Co-op (KIUC) PV Integration Study
  • Multi-PV Inverter Utility Interconnection Evaluations
  • Initial Operating Experience of the 1.2-MW La Ola Photovoltaic System
  • Ota City: Characterizing Output Variability from 553 Homes with Residential PV Systems on a Distribution Feeder
  • Simulation of One-Minute Power Output from Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Generation Systems
  • PV System Modeling for Grid Planning Studies
  • Multi-PV Inverter Utility Interconnection Evaluations
  • Transmission and Distribution Deferment using PV and Energy Storage
  • Grid-Tied PV System Energy Smoothing