Smart Energy Technologies

Technical Symposium

Sundial: Enabling High Penetration Solar through Integrated Energy Storage and Demand Management

Tuesday, September 25
12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Location: 203AB

Abstract Content : Objective: We will present results from a pilot demonstration of the SunDial System, a framework for optimally controlling the net system power flows to and from a distribution feeder by integrating the control of PV, energy storage, and aggregated facility load management, regardless of whether these individual components are distributed at different locations or owned and operated by different entities. This work aims to reduce friction and risk associated with deploying solar in high penetration environments by: (1) developing a methodology to use demand-side management to provide multi-hour "load shaping" services that reduce the need for traditional energy storage in high solar penetration environments; (2) developing an open-source optimal dispatch software platform that can be readily adapted to optimize control of DERs in a variety of environments; and (3) deploying these technologies on a live distribution feeder to gain real-world experience on the potential for (and limits of) integrated storage + demand-side management.
Methods: The SunDial System aggregates control of a portfolio of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) using an optimal power dispatch platform called the Global Scheduler (GS). Based on user-configured policy objectives and data about current and future system state, the GS uses a simulating annealing approach to determine the dispatch strategy that minimizes global cost for its DER portfolio. These operational profiles are communicated to end-point devices using a new set of data models to facilitate integration between PV plant developers and load aggregators across a range of use cases and business models. The Global Scheduler is implemented as an application layer on VOLTTRON, an open-source platform to facilitate control of DERs. Load aggregation services are provided to the GS by a cloud-based application that models day-ahead load forecasts and load-shift flexibility, negotiates with the GS to determine optimal load-shaping strategy, and communicates with end-user facilities to execute this strategy.
Results: The Sundial System is currently being deployed on a feeder in Shirley, MA to manage net loads from a portfolio of DERs that includes 1.5MW of PV, a 0.5MW/1.0MWh ESS, and 3.5 MW of customer load, 10-20% of which is flexible. Analytical results vindicate that the integration of forecasting and day-ahead load shaping of customer demand can supplement the effective storage capacity of the integrated system by 10-20%, while reducing the system levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by approximately 10%. Over the next 18 months, we will be piloting this system to test system operation across a range of real-world use-cases.
Conclusion: By enabling an integrated portfolio of DERs to act as dispatchable resource on the distribution system, the Sundial system demonstrates a cost-effective and scalable method to enable widespread deployment of PV while minimizing the need for energy storage.


Matthew A. Kromer

Director, Grid Integration
Fraunhofer CSE

Matt Kromer leads the Grid Integration research team at the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy. In this role, Matt leads research and development of next-generation renewable and smart grid systems for grid-connected and off-grid applications, taking new ideas from concept to demonstration. Key research interests include developing technology to increase the hosting capacity of the utility grid for renewable generation, leveraging the potential for DER to enable resiliency, reliability, utilization efficiency, and make it easier to deploy DER Systems at scale. He is the principal investigator on Fraunhofer's SHINES project, a multi-year development and demonstration initiative that uses a combination of solar generation, energy storage, and integrated demand management to shape the load on the utility distribution system.

Before he joined Fraunhofer CSE in 2014, Matt was the Program Manager for Advanced Technologies at Satcon Technology Corporation in Boston, where he spearheaded the development and demonstration of grid-smart inverters for solar, energy storage, and microgrid applications. Matt previously held positions at TIAX LLC in Lexington, where his work focused on techno-economic analysis of sustainable energy in the transportation and power generation sector; and as a staff engineer at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge. Matt received his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, and received an MS in Technology & Policy from MIT.


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