Enphase Energy is using its expertise in grid-forming inverters, based on Enphase Ensemble technology, to support the initiative at the University of Washington to develop control systems for unrestricted penetration of PV solar on the grid. Combined with approximately $1 million in grant funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Enphase will provide test platforms and invest approximately $420,000 over the project’s three-year timeline.
Under the heading, “A Scalable Control Architecture for 100% PV Penetration with Grid Forming Inverters,” Enphase joins a team of industry partners and experts from the University of Washington to help solve one of the most important challenges to the proliferation of grid-attached distributed energy generation. Enphase will focus on running specialized test scenarios and gathering data at the company’s single- and three-phase, on- and off-grid rooftop solar R&D facility in Austin, Texas. The test array is equipped with Enphase microinverters featuring the company’s custom ASIC, which powers the software-defined architecture that allows Enphase to reprogram a test fleet of microinverters with control architectures and algorithms developed by the University of Washington. The control architectures and algorithms will be tested to validate robust controller performance under real-world weather variability.
“This project will uncover the architectural and algorithmic foundations required to reliably integrate unlimited distributed, renewable energy resources, like solar photovoltaic (PV), on our electric grids,” said Brian B. Johnson, Washington Research Foundation Innovation Assistant Professor of Clean Energy and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Washington. “More than 100 municipalities in the U.S. have established directives or portfolios that target 100% renewable integration. We engaged Enphase because we believe its software-defined, grid-forming microinverters are the ideal platform on which to develop and test our controllers. Aggressive grid-connected renewables targets are no longer aspirational, and our work will ensure that the transition to a more cost-effective, secure, and resilient grid happens in a reliable manner.”
“Enphase decided to support the University of Washington and the Department of Energy in this important effort because resilient solar + storage not only benefits the residential and commercial segments, but plays a strategic role in providing energy security to assets in the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors,” said Hans van Antwerpen, chief technology officer at Enphase Energy. “Our always-on Ensemble technology is ideally suited to support the development of a scalable architecture for control and coordination of networks with up to 100% inverter-interfaced solar and battery storage resources. We are proud to contribute to the development of this important evolution of the energy grid.”
Enphase Ensemble energy management technology is capable of powering traditional grid-tied, grid-agnostic microgrid, and fully off-grid energy products. Researchers at the University of Washington will leverage Ensemble technology using a combination of eighth-generation Enphase IQ microinverters, the Enphase Encharge storage system, the Enphase IQ Combiner device and the Enphase Enpower Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) with fine-grained load control, and the cloud-based Enphase Enlighten monitoring, communications and control system. The Enphase Encharge storage system features embedded grid-forming Enphase microinverters that enable always-on functionality and will be compatible with both new and existing Enphase IQ solar systems with IQ 6 or IQ 7 microinverters, providing a simple upgrade path for existing Enphase solar customers.
News item from Enphase Energy