New DOE-SEIA SHINES Program to Make Solar Plus Storage Affordable

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched a joint initiative aimed at boosting development and deployment of integrated solar energy-power storage systems. Dubbed SHINES (Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and solar PV) the initiative is being launched with $18 million of capital from the DOE SunShot Initiative’s new $220 million Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program (MYPP), which itself was just announced last Thursday, January 14.

By integrating advanced battery and energy storage technologies, electricity produced by PV facilities can be stored and dispatched day or night according to demand and overall grid conditions, EERE and SEIA highlight. That will advance efforts to transform U.S. power grids from centralized systems dependent on fossil fuels to distributed grid systems centered on local solar and renewable energy generation capacity.

Dispatching Solar Power Night and Day

DOE Assistant Secretary for EERE David Danielson and SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch announced the program during a January 19 conference call with utility companies and other organizations in which they discussed ways of working jointly to develop solar PV technologies that work in tandem with power storage systems.

SHINES has been developed based on concepts and recommendations set out in DOE’s recently released Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review. The new Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium just created to carry out the DOE’s Grid Modernization MYPP and $18 million in SHINES program funding aims to improve the reliability, resiliency, efficiency and security of the nation’s aging grid infrastructure.

With solar PV power generation and advanced battery-based energy storage systems as core components, microgrid installations stand to increase as a result of SHINE projects. Integrated solar PV-energy storage systems are already on the rise, including at U.S. military bases, in communities, on corporate and educational campuses, and by utilities.

DOE national energy laboratories are also founding members of the recently launched Microgrid Systems Laboratory in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Conceived as a ¨fully integrated innovation center for decentralized energy systems,¨ the public-private partnership will draw on R&D resources from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, utilities and an array of other industry stakeholders, public and private.

Analysts at Transparency Market Research forecast the global microgrid market will expand at a 20.7 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 and 2020. Pegging the value of the market at $9.8 billion in 2013, the market research provider expects it will reach $35.1 billion by the end of the decade.

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