The CalSolarResearch website provides information about the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD&D) Program activities, including the program’s history and current CSI RD&D solicitations. Please check back regularly for updates!
The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) and its partners developed, improved, and demonstrated solar power grid integration models. At the broad system level, relevance of solar forecasting to resource adequacy was demonstrated at very high penetration levels based on a characterization of meteorological conditions when large aggregate solar ramps are likely occur. This effort included a number of different areas: • Task 2: Demonstrating forecast performance during meteorological conditions with greatest impact on SDG&E operations and recommending monitoring improvements: Variability in solar irradiance across the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) territory informed the partitioning of solar climate zones that can be leveraged to optimize ground station coverage and solar plant allocations. • Task 3: Day-Ahead Solar forecast models for marine layer clouds: A well-known but often poorly forecast California-wide phenomenon is the burn-off of marine layer clouds. These clouds can cover a large fraction of rooftop PV systems throughout California. The project team developed forecasting tools through a combination of very high resolution numerical weather prediction, statistical modeling, and dense measurement infrastructure installed by SDG&E. • Task 4: Localized Solar Forecasting and Distribution Feeder Modeling: distribution feeder power quality analysis was forced with total sky imager cloud maps and forecasts to identify voltage control needs under high PV penetration. The modeling was conducted on five representative feeders with variations in PV penetration, location / meteorology, and voltage regulation equipment. When realistic PV input profiles are used tap operations were reduced substantially compared to using the same profile for all PV systems on the feeders. • Task 5: Forecast Integration with Utility Models for Resource Adequacy: For these same feeders net load forecast models were also developed and validated. Solar variability was found to significantly influence net load fore
Two CSI RD&D Final Project Webinars:
Webinar Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8169543285948101377
This webinar presents analytical and experimental work performed by GE and PG&E to evaluate the likelihood of unintended islanding of solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters in distribution applications under realistic field conditions.
Most PV inverters used in distribution applications in the United States today are certified to UL 1741, which ensure that an individual inverter can detect islanding and de-energize within 2 seconds when it is coupled to a defined synthetic load. Realistic conditions in actual distribution circuits, however, are never matching the exact conditions of the UL test – the field conditions generally involve inverters of different makes and models and loads of greater variety than the synthetic load used in the UL anti-islanding test. This raises concerns about feasibility of islanding detection in realistic system conditions and poses the question: What is the maximum level of penetration that can be safely allowed on actual distribution circuits?
GE and PG&E undertook a three-year study to answer this question by performing experimental work using actual PV inverters and the flexible load specifically designed to enable streamlined evaluation of different load compositions. The flexible load uses a power electronic inverter to simulation distribution load in real time based on WECC’s composite load model executing on a Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS). This enables evaluating loads of different compositions to more closely represent load variety found on distribution circuits in PG&E service territory.
Webinar Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3077174972957233922
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), National Renewables Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) will be presenting a final webinar on the Methods for Screening Distribution Feeders: Alternatives to the 15% Rule project. The objective of this project was to improve the utility application review and approval process for interconnecting photovoltaics (PV) to the utility distribution system. Working with the three investor-owned utilities, the project team evaluated the impacts of PV on the distribution system through detailed hosting capacity analysis. The results of this analysis led to the identification of additional fast-track initial and supplemental review screens that could be applied alongside the existing California Electric Rule 21 screens. These new screens are derived directly from our technical analysis and will better predict the amount of PV that can be accommodated on a feeder regardless of its loading.
CSI RD&D Final Project Webinar:
Webinar Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9058146589239111681
The Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Fund (SEED Fund) is a durable financing mechanism based on a collaborative procurement business model to support regional sustainability projects. The program was designed to enable potential public participants like municipalities and schools to overcome existing barriers to collaborative procurement efforts, such as high upfront costs, high administrative effort and information gaps. Utilizing a California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD&D) grant, the SEED Fund Team had the goal to create a first round collaboration pool of up to 15 public partners with up to 100 potential sites, that would lead to at least 5MW of solar contracted in Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties. The SEED Fund Team, comprised of Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) and Optony, Inc., provides overall financial, technical and educational expertise at solar project procurement to reach this goal. The webinar will explore the program model, successes, and lessons learned.
SEED website: http://www.solarroadmap.com/regional-initiatives/seed/
Project: UC Davis West Village: Integrating Smart Grid, Hybrid PVT and Energy Storage Systems at West Village
Principal Investigators: UC Davis
Date/Time: Sept 9, 2014, 1:30 - 3:30 pm PDT
Webinar registration link: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/312055895
UC Davis West Village is the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. It is on track to demonstrate, for the first time, that zero net energy is practical on a large scale. Energy efficiency measures have reduced projected energy demand by approximately 50 percent as compared to current building code requirements. Renewable energy will meet the remaining energy needs on an annual basis.
The CSI RD&D research project included a smart grid feasibility study and the execution of four technology demonstration projects at the UC Davis West Village and Aggie Village in Davis, CA.
PVT Demonstrations: The findings from the installation of two solar combined heat and power (PV and solar thermal - PVT) systems will be presented. One system was installed on an existing single family home and another on the multifamily Zero Net Energy (ZNE) apartment building at the West Village campus of UC Davis.
West Village Smart Grid Feasibility Study: This study, performed by the GE Smart Grid Center of Excellence, evaluated the early performance of the West Village ZNE community and made recommendations to integrate smart grid systems, such as HVAC and Demand Response controls into the future phases of development.
Battery Storage Demonstrations: Findings from the installation of two lithium-ion battery storage systems at UC Davis West Village and the retrofit home in Aggie Village will be presented. The first demonstration integrated a 35kWh li-ion battery into a ZNE building at West Village. The second demonstration integrated a 10kWh second life-use lithium-ion battery into a single family home.
The CSI RD&D Program will be hosting two final project webinars in March. These webinars are the culmination of the projects and walk through the entire process and present final results achieved. Please register at the link provided after each description to reserve a spot.
Project: BEoptCA(Ex) - Optimization platform for EE/DR/PV in residential retrofit
Principal Investigators: Davis Energy Group and NREL
Date/Time: March 5, 2014, 10 am - noon PST
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Davis Energy Group (DEG), and Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) will be presenting a final webinar on the BEoptCA(Ex) project. This project targeted the development of a software tool, BEopt-CA (Ex) (Building Energy Optimization Tool for California Existing Homes), that facilitates balanced integration of energy efficiency (EE), demand response (DR), and photovoltaics (PV) in the residential retrofit market. The intent of the software tool is to provide utility program managers and contractors in the EE/DR/PV market place with a means of balancing the integration of EE, DR, and PV within the residential retrofit market. NREL's existing BEopt software was enhanced by adding capabilities in the following areas: existing home retrofit analysis, retrofit measures and cost data, utility tariff capabilities, time dependent valuation (TDV), utility cost-effectiveness tests, incentives for PV and whole-house efficiency, and demand response. The new version of BEopt can be launched in a "California Metrics" mode to utilize these specific capabilities. Preliminary work was also done on connecting BEopt to the new California Simulation Engine (CSE) being developed for use in California residential building energy codes (Title-24).
Webinar registration link: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/144380719
Project: CPR project - Integrating PV into Utility Planning and Operation Tools
Principal Investigators: Clean Power Research
Date/Time: March 11, 2014, 10 am - noon PST
Clean Power Research (CPR) will present the final project webinar, “Integrating PV into Utility Planning and Operation Tools”. This project, which builds upon CPR’s Solicitation #1 award, accomplished three grid-integration tasks: (1) extend SolarAnywhere Enhanced Resolution solar resource database, create 1-km, 1 minute resolution solar resource data and benchmark data accuracy, (2) validate previously developed PV fleet simulation methodologies using measured data from fleets of PV systems connected to California’s grid; and (3) integrate PV fleet simulation methodologies into utility software tools for use in activities ranging from distribution planning to balancing area operation. A high point of the project is the on-going delivery of high-resolution, behind-the-meter PV forecasts every half-hour for 170,000 individual PV systems to the California Independent System Operator (ISO).
Webinar registration link: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/226429743
The CPUC has announced the winning recipients of Solicitation 5 in a draft resolution. The final resolution is expected to be adopted at the March 27, 2014 Commission Meeting. There are seven selected recipients for a total of up to $669,160 in grant funding.
The Draft Resolution E-4646 can be viewed here.
The CPUC has announced the winning recipients of Solicitation 4 in a draft resolution. The final resolution is expected to be adopted at the Feb 5 Commission Meeting. There are six selected recipients for a total of up to $5.58 million in grant funding.
The Draft Resolution E-4629 is available for comment at the CPUC website.