SunPower will participate in two solar projects with solar technologists to research how to facilitate high levels of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) penetration into the utility distribution system.
SunPower says it will use the funding for the first project to explore the planning and modelling for high-penetration solar PV on the California transmission and distribution network.
On the second solar project SunPower will team up with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to research the new hardware and software tools for providing bi-directional communication and management between solar PV systems and utility controls using advanced metering infrastructure.
The California Solar Initiative (CSI)
The California Solar Initiative is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and has a goal to create 3 GW of new, solar electricity by 2016.
The CSI state-wide budget is US$3.3 billion over 10 years, and it has three distinct programme components. The Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program will invest US$50m to fund solar research and demonstration projects that could reduce the cost and accelerate the installation of solar and other distributed technologies that could employ solar for generation, storage, or that could reduce the use of natural gas.