Project Name: Solar Critical Infrastructure Energization System
Funding Opportunity: Advanced Systems Integration for Solar Technologies: Situational Awareness and Resilient Solutions for Critical Infrastructure
SETO Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: Knoxville, TN
SETO Award Amount: $6 million
Awardee Cost Share: $3 million

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project aims to create a system that can recognize and react to grid emergencies and use solar energy to help provide power to critical infrastructure, like hospitals, during an outage. The project team will also identify grid regions that can operate reliably under cyber and physical threats, and develop new technologies, such as advanced inverters and decentralized control systems, to support regional emergency operations, with a focus on cybersecurity and resilient communications.


The team will develop a new power-system planning and analysis method, inverters that can restart after blackouts both on their own and in groups, and advanced distribution software to operate localized power systems. They will design these concepts, demonstrate and verify them in the lab, then deploy the system in the field to verify its effectiveness. The team will focus on planning for a natural or manmade disaster by identifying viable solutions for them, and after an event, leverage distributed solar energy to power essential facilities.


Distributed resources, such as solar and storage, are engineered to follow signals from the grid, but a grid disruption could make this difficult. With new methods of power-system planning and analysis that can identify autonomous grid regions, this project will improve grid resilience by enabling parts of the grid to generate their own power and form their own grid during a widespread outage.

Illustration of a distribution and transmission plan.
Distribution and transmission operators create action plans based on analysis that occurs before any emergency. Illustration courtesy of EPRI.