The U.S. Department of Energy anticipates a future where many households will utilize solar on their rooftops and that power will be transferred to the shared grid.
They are funding the Community Power Project in Flagstaff to test a shared grid system. It is anticipated that as many as one in three households will have solar capacity in the near future.
From the Clean Technica article:
Preparing for a future when a third of us will make our own electricity from solar on our roofs and ship that power onto the shared grid - the U.S. Department of Energy has funded the development of a solar community in Flagstaff, Arizona to help test how well the grid can handle that.
With everything expected to be complete this month, the test is now ready to be switched on.
The DOE supplied a $3.3 million grant in 2010 to help American Power Service (APS) set up the Community Power Project in the northern Arizona city to study the effects of a high concentration of solar rooftops on the grid.
APS, the oldest electricity utility in Arizona – and the owner of the largest coal power plant in the Southeast – must in turn run tests to see how well the grid can handle that much solar, spread out among individual customers, rather than coming from a single utility-scale project.
This Flagstaff neighborhood will have a distribution line that carries 30 percent solar energy, and “the question is: how do you optimize the grid in that case,” Dan Wool, spokesman for APS told Energy Prospects West. This study “envisions a future when everyone has solar.” (Or one in three of us.)
Within the single Flagstaff neighborhood, APS has now installed photovoltaic systems on 125 residential rooftops ranging from 2 KW to 4 KW, along with solar water heaters in some low-income households and a 400 KW solar system at a local elementary school.
In addition to the small distributed rooftop solar arrays, about a third of the renewable energy for the Community Power Project will be generated from a 500 KW ground mounted solar farm consisting of PV panels arranged in several rows on top of single-axis tracking supports at the Doney Park Renewable Energy Site on 10 acres of land owned by APS.
To back up the solar energy and provide storage to even out the grid, APS included a 1.5 MWh battery storage system into the local grid at a substation.
Complete article at: Clean Technica