SCE Wins Prestigious Solar Grant From Department of Energy

The award will fund research to reduce solar interconnection times.
Feb 17, 2017 1:00 PM ET

As part of its effort to encourage the growth of solar energy, Southern California Edison has received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national program to better integrate more solar into the electrical grid.

Results of the competitive process were announced in San Diego during the annual DistribuTECH conference. SCE was one of only 13 successful applicants

SCE's Electric Access System Enhancement project, known as EASE, will address the complexity of putting solar projects onto the grid. EASE will look at how grid automation systems can be improved to reduce the time it takes to connect solar and other distributed energy sources, like storage, to the grid. It will also address the monitoring and control systems that are needed to effectively integrate distributed energy to the grid.

“Our goal is to get to a place where it is easy for all of our customers to have effective integration to the grid, whether they are consuming or producing power," said Robert Sherick, SCE principal manager, engineering, who shepherded the grant application process.

SCE has assembled an EASE team that includes grid software technology firm Smarter Grid Solutions, energy storage provider Advanced Microgrid Solutions, NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab), the city of Santa Ana, and universities, including the University of California, Los Angeles, Caltech, UC Riverside and UC Irvine. 

“This project, with this team, is going to be one more step in understanding how to optimize the grid to better support solar and other forms of renewable energy,” said Sherick.

Project work will take place within the area of southern Orange County that has already been identified as part of SCE’s Integrated Grid Project. The three-year project is scheduled to start in May. 

An additional $2 million in funding will come from a California Energy Commission matching grant through their Electric Program Investment Charge. SCE is also contributing matching funds through its EPIC program.