The DOE Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) projects develop advanced photovoltaic (PV) systems with intelligent interfaces to seamlessly integrate into the distribution and transmission grids.
Adding intelligent interfaces to a PV system helps create a smart grid that will handle two-way flows of power and communication, in comparison to the one-way power flow and virtually no communication that exist today. An intelligent interface communicating with a smart grid is required to allow the seamless integration of solar technologies in high-penetration scenarios—while simultaneously helping solar energy generation achieve grid parity with conventional forms of electricity.
The SEGIS projects are categorized in two areas:
The Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems – Advanced Concepts (SEGIS-AC) program aims to fund projects that will:
- Develop power electronics technologies that reduce the overall cost of PV systems
- Allow high penetrations of solar technologies onto the grid (e.g., reactive power, energy storage, advanced functionalities)
- Enhance the performance, reliability, and safety of PV systems
- Demonstrate the feasibility of these technologies in the field, thereby directly supporting the SunShot Initiative goal to reduce the costs of solar energy systems to approximately $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.
In 2008, the Solar Program awarded financial assistance to 12 companies, through Sandia National Laboratories, to develop smarter and more interactive components and systems. In 2009, five of these companies received additional funding. These systems include inverters, controllers, and energy management systems that will use intelligent functionality and communication to optimize system performance, economic value, energy storage, and energy management. These projects concluded on September 30, 2011.
All projects are led by the DOE Solar Program and support the SunShot Initiative.