Bill Torre will test smart invertors under the California Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge

February 2015

   

Smart inverter in use at experiments at UCSDThe Center for Energy Research's Director of Energy Storage Systems, William Torre, will lead a two-year project to conduct testing of “smart” inverters. His team will build a state-of-the art facility with grid and photovoltaic simulators, which will allow live testing under actual simulated load and photovoltaic generation conditions while in a controlled laboratory environment.

 “The ultimate benefit of this project will be to allow accommodation of higher levels of renewable generation,” explains Torre, Principal Investigator. Some have argued that the uncontrolled variability of renewable generation (ie. clouds passing by the sun) threatens the reliability and regulation of power delivery and actually de-stabilizes the energy grid. Torre points out that recent advances in power electronics such as smart invertors allow “renewable generation (to) provide electrical support to the power grid similar to or even better than conventional power plants.”

The California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) is funding projects in four areas of energy generation: modular bioenergy systems for forest/urban interface areas, waste-to-energy bioenergy systems, advanced inverter functionality and interoperability to enable high-penetration distributed photovoltaics, and advanced distributed photovoltaic systems. CER is a subcontractor to the prime contractor, The Sunspec Alliance. The project runs from March 2015-March 2017.

smart inverter diagrams

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