Project Goal: To further develop the Smart Solar concept in which solar electric systems are made capable of self-regulating their power output based on the needs of the larger grid, resulting in greater solar penetration and increased grid stability.
Project Description: The cost of solar energy is dropping rapidly, which is spurring dramatic increases in solar capacity. In fact, over the past five years, solar energy generation in the U.S. has increased by over 400%. This rapid adoption of solar energy is both a boon and a curse. Increased adoption of renewables reduces society’s reliance on fossil fuels and puts our nation on the path to energy independence. However, this increased adoption has important (negative) implications on the stability and economics of the electric grid due to the non-dispatchable nature of solar energy production. Large-scale energy storage offers one possible strategy for grid stabilization but large storage deployments are not yet economically feasible. Self-regulating solar electric systems offers another potential solution to grid stability challenges.