Satcon Technology Corporation® (NASDAQ CM: SATC), a leading provider of utility-grade power conversion solutions for the renewable energy market, along with A123 Systems, Renewable Energy Services (RES), and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced today that they have been selected by the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) to receive a $2 million grant to develop and demonstrate methods to reduce the effects of renewable power intermittency. The grant is part of a larger initiative to develop the core solutions to enable higher penetration of renewable power onto the electric grid through advanced solar energy harvest, storage and array control capabilities.
Utility-scale solar deployment is a crucial part in attaining California’s renewable energy goals, including achieving 33 percent of utility loads in the state with renewable energy by 2020. Successfully managing the intermittent nature of solar energy remains a challenge for Utilities looking to increase the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants on their grid networks. This Satcon led project is designed to address these grid integration challenges through the development of PV integrated electric energy storage systems capable of voltage and frequency support, PV firming, real power dispatch and ramp rate control. The project team will develop, test and demonstrate the proposed technology at SMUD’s corporate headquarters in Sacramento, California.
“One of SMUD’s key challenges is to ensure that the grid is able to serve loads at all times while accommodating higher levels of renewable energy integration. Addressing key issues, such as ensuring a stable power flow into the grid from renewable sources, is critical to the success of using renewables as a major energy supplier,” said Mark Rawson of SMUD. “Satcon’s expertise in advanced solar inverter system technologies and experience with large-scale solar plant grid integration, combined with A123’s advanced lithium ion battery technology, will help us address these key challenges via this project.”
The project is part of the Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Renewable Program, which funds initiatives that help meeting research, development and demonstration needs related to more rapid and environmentally responsible deployment of utility-scale renewable energy. The project will be the first of its kind to demonstrate a highly efficient and cost effective electric energy storage system specifically designed and optimized for grid tied PV applications.
The system will be comprised of a 500kW PV array, Satcon’s 500kW PowerGate Plus utility-ready inverter solution and a 500kWh advanced lithium ion battery energy storage system from A123 that will leverage a high power, high voltage version of Satcon’s battery power conditioning system (Satcon Spectrum PCS) featuring Satcon’s EDGE Adaptive Control Architecture™ (EDGE ACA) to enable voltage stabilization, frequency control and continuous operation of the PV plant in the event of major grid instabilities including faults.
“Satcon has always been the industry’s leading innovator for large-scale solar power production and power plant control,” said Leo Casey, Chief Technology Officer for Satcon. “As we seek to integrate renewable energy sources into the grid, improved controls and energy storage systems to reduce power output fluctuations become critical. These capabilities have been developed and deployed across multiple projects over the past four years, including commercial PV and energy storage integration projects and the Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) development and demonstration project funded by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The Energy Commission project enables us to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation of controls and energy storage technologies that are central to tomorrow’s power grid.”