12 March 2010
SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced that the company has been awarded two grants totaling approximately $1.5 million from the California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (CSI RD&D) Program. SunPower will participate on two distinct projects with leading solar technologists to research how to facilitate high levels of distributed photovoltaic (PV) penetration into the utility distribution system.
SunPower will use the funding for the first project to explore the planning and modeling for high-penetration PV on the California transmission and distribution network. The company will research the development of tools and resources necessary to facilitate the study of high penetration PV scenarios using industry-standard simulation tools. SunPower will team up with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on the second project to research the new hardware and software tools for providing bi-directional communication and management between PV systems and utility controls using advanced metering infrastructure. The company will provide supplementary funds to SMUD for the latter project.
"We are honored to be selected by the CSI RD&D Committee for these awards," said Bill Mulligan, SunPower's vice president of technology and development. "Participating in research and development projects under the California Solar Initiative, and partnering with leading solar technologists, will be a benefit to SunPower's business and broaden the success of solar programs in California."
The California Solar Initiative (CSI), overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, has a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2016, moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping to lower the cost of solar systems for consumers. The CSI state-wide budget is $3.3 billion over 10 years, and it has three distinct program components.
To help achieve California's goal of creating a vibrant solar industry, the state legislature created the Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program. This program will invest $50 million to fund solar research and demonstration projects that will measurably 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.