PROJECT PROFILE: Minnesota Department of Commerce (SEEDS2-SES)

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Project Name: Project North Star: Illuminating the Way to Photovoltaic Integration
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 2 – State Energy Strategies (SEEDS2-SES)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: St. Paul, MN
SunShot Award Amount: $1,999,964
Awardee Cost Share: $855,224

This project uses a scenario-based tool to examine the potential for key technologies and management approaches – such as demand management strategies, storage, and synergy with wind – to overcome grid integration challenges with increased solar penetration. This project identifies barriers to deployment while laying a technical foundation to understand how much solar capacity potential exists across Minnesota. In addition, it tackles grid management approaches to overcoming solar integration challenges.

APPROACH

The project team engages with stakeholders to discuss perceived barriers to increasing solar deployment and seeks to understand how solar might be deployed on a broad scale across Minnesota in a way that is consistent with the state’s existing clean energy goals. They will also develop, test, and implement a solar deployment strategy (SDS) model that demonstrates several alternative paths to achieving wide-scale solar deployment.

INNOVATION

This project will leverage long-standing working relationships among utilities, industry, nonprofits, corporations with sustainability goals, and local governments to set the stage for higher levels of solar energy. The SDS tool will be used in a variety of utility service territories to produce solar deployment options for achieving the state’s clean energy goals. The goal is to make solar generate 10% of Minnesota's electricity by 2030.