US Announces $12 Million to Advance Early-Stage Solar Research

The funding for solar research will advance solar forecasting technologies in a coordinated way with partnerships between national labs, universities, and industry.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $12 million in new funding for eight projects to advance predictive modeling capabilities for solar generation.

“These models will lead to more accurate forecasts of solar generation levels, enabling utilities to better manage the variability and uncertainty of solar power and improve grid reliability,” the statement said.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said these projects will address a critical gap in our research, which is knowing precisely how much solar electricity to expect at any given hour on any given day.

“These tools are becoming more important as the solar industry continues to grow, and will work to ensure that solar contributes to the reliability, affordability, and resilience of our nation’s electric grid,” Perry added.

The funding will advance solar forecasting technologies in a coordinated way with partnerships between national labs, universities, and industry.

“Four projects are aimed at making significant advances in predicting solar generation,” it said.

According to the statement, another project at the University of Arizona will build a testing framework to allow industry and academia to evaluate and compare the performance of advanced models.

Three projects will study the integration of advanced forecasting technologies with grid planning and operations systems in partnership with the California Independent System Operator.

The research will validate whether or not these technologies can be efficiently integrated into energy management systems and enhance grid operation efficiency, while working to identify any future research needs.

The total DOE investment will spur an additional $2.6 million of private sector funding through cost share requirements, yielding a total public and private investment of over $14.6 million.

The Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supports early-stage research and development to improve the reliability and performance of solar technologies.

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