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A SunShot systems integration project in Texas is testing battery storage solutions for solar energy.
Department of Energy

Title: Austin SHINES
Funding OpportunitySustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV
SunShot SubprogramSystems Integration
Location: Austin, TX
Amount Awarded: $4,300,000
Awardee Cost Share: $4,337,683

The goal of the Austin SHINES Project is to demonstrate a solution adaptable to any region and market structure that offers a credible pathway to a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of 14¢/kWh for solar energy when augmented by storage and other distributed energy resource (DER) management options. The solution aims to establish a template for other regions to follow to maximize the penetration of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV). In addition, the proposed solution will enable distribution utilities to mitigate potential negative impacts of high penetration levels of PV caused by the intermittency and variability of solar production. This project recognizes that emerging DER assets such as solar and energy storage are part of an integrated, interconnected grid system and that the benefits of these resources are maximized only when they are holistically coordinated with other grid assets.


Austin Energy is creating a DER management platform that maintains grid reliability while also enabling energy loads to be delivered at the lowest possible costs when there are high penetration levels of distributed PV generation. The platform will use multiple advanced control methodologies that will be demonstrated and evaluated using a fleet of diverse DER assets designed and deployed at various locations among Austin Energy’s customers and distribution system. By operating these assets as a coordinated system, the Austin SHINES solution will create and demonstrate DER deployment and control methodologies that enable the grid ecosystem to serve load at a cost of less than $0.14/kWh while enabling a high penetration of distributed solar. Over the course of this project, Austin Energy and partners will design, develop, and install more than 3 megawatts of distributed storage, smart solar inverters, a DER control platform, and other enabling technologies utilizing customer and utility locations and multiple aggregation models.


Key project outcomes include the creation and use of the “System LCOE to Serve Load” metric, which encompasses the holistic, system-level costs and benefits of all resources. Outcomes also include the creation of new DER control methodologies deployable within a utility-grade software platform, optimal design methodologies for individual DER installations, a comparison of multiple DER aggregation and ownership methodologies (including direct utility control, third-party aggregator, and autonomous), a comparison of multiple DER technology mixes and configurations within the distribution system. Because the outcomes of this project will be based on actual large-scale PV and storage deployments and operation experiences, the project will provide insight on which technologies will serve energy loads at low costs and high penetrations of solar.

Download the presentation from Austin Energy at the SHINES Technical Kickoff Meeting.