Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) Funding Opportunity

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Subprogram: Systems Integration and Soft Costs

The Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) funding program provides $8 million to help utilities develop adaptable and replicable practices, long-term strategic plans, and technical solutions to sustain reliable operations with large proportions of solar power on the grid. The projects funded by SUNRISE demonstrate cost-effective and reliable solar photovoltaic (PV) generation integration in real time, at utility-scale, and in successful utility business models.

SUNRISE awards were announced in October 2013. Read the press release.


SUNRISE is split between the systems integration subprogram and the soft costs subprogram. The systems integration projects, which are all now inactive, addressed the need for more structured planning to sustainably integrate solar energy into the nation’s grid in a secure, safe, and reliable manner. In addition, they enabled utility power grid control centers to enhance their simulation capability to analyze and prepare for the impacts of high penetrations of solar on the electric grid, providing power system operators with the necessary tools to operate the grid in a reliable manner under high renewable penetration. The single soft costs project is still active and providing technical assistance to help the solar market overcome deployment barriers to utility-scale PV installations.


This funding program allowed utilities to develop and implement sustainable renewable integration plans as part of their long-term strategic business plans. These plans enabled utilities to continue to operate in a cost-effective and efficient fashion while integrating large amounts of solar energy. In addition to these plans, SUNRISE helped create the infrastructure for utility personnel to simulate and understand the impacts of high penetration of solar on system operations. Finally, the technical assistance to co-ops and municipal utilities under the soft costs project is helping accelerate solar ownership, improve technical expertise, and build organizational capacity.

Systems Integration Awardees

PEPCO Holdings Inc.

Project Title: Model-Based Integrated High Penetration Renewables Planning and Control Analysis
Location: Washington, DC
SunShot Award Amount: $979,293
Awardee Cost Share: $2,760,950
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: This project quantified the individual and combined effects of solar energy using a model-based integrated transmission and distribution system interconnection, planning, monitoring, and control analysis across Pepco’s entire service area. The effects of distributed energy resources, system configuration, equipment and control changes, system efficiency and reliability were quantified. This work aimed to increase the solar penetration capacity in the distribution system within Pepco's service territory.

AWS TruePower

Project Title: Comprehensive Solutions for Integration of Solar Resources into Grid Operations
Location: Albany, NY
SunShot Award Amount: $391,773
Awardee Cost Share: $399,990
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: AWS Truepower developed a set of processes and tools to actively integrate uncertainty and variability information into power system operations. Specifically, this project worked to enable California power system operators to utilize probabilistic forecast algorithms and incorporate distributed solar directly into their operations. This allowed them to analyze the resulting benefits from more cost-effective unit commitment and dispatch, as well as a reduction in balancing reserves. 

Clean Power Research

Project Title: Integration of Behind-the-Meter PV Fleet Forecasts into Utility Grid System Operations
Location: Napa, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $553,353
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: This project incorporated behind-the-meter PV production forecasts developed by Clean Power Research into the CAISO Short Term Forecasting Group’s Automatic Load Forecasting System. Improvements were made on hour-ahead and day-ahead load forecasts. This project helped to reduce the costs of integrating higher penetrations of PV onto the grid by incorporating distributed PV generation forecasts into utility planning and operational tools in California, and serves as a replicable and scalable approach that other areas of the country could follow.

Hawaiian Electric Company

Project Title: Distributed Resource Energy Analysis and Management System Development for Real-time Grid Operations
Location: Honolulu, HI
SunShot Award Amount: $500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $500,000
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: The Hawaiian Electric Company, along with two energy management system (EMS) vendors, designed new capabilities on the islands of Oahu and Maui that enabled visibility into thousands of uncontrolled rooftop PV systems. Specifically, this project implemented advanced, short-term wind and solar forecasting capabilities into the EMS decision-making process. This project motivated technology development and enabled operational change under high renewables penetration, thereby reducing the cost and impact of integrating large amounts of solar power in Hawaii.

University of California, San Diego

Project Title: Intra-Hour Dispatch and Automatic Generator Control Demonstration with Solar Forecasting
Location: La Jolla, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $499,900
Awardee Cost Share: $555,000
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: This project demonstrated an operational tool for reducing costs associated with real-time dispatch and automatic generation control for different solar penetration scenarios in the Sacramento region. The team used an innovative clustering analysis on the expected solar variability within each region, further providing operators with a prediction of the generation fleet's behavior in real time for realistic PV penetration scenarios.

Electric Power Research Institute

Project Title: Operational Simulation Tools and Long Term Strategic Planning for high penetrations of PV in the Southeastern US
Location: Knoxville, TN
SunShot Award Amount: $873,347
Awardee Cost Share: $920,001
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) collaborated with utilities to assess operational and business impacts posed by high levels of solar generation resulting in strategic plans for the southeastern United States. EPRI developed distribution grid feeder clustering and characterization methods along with models for solar generation hosting capacity and power production simulation. This work resulted in an end-to-end strategy and operations project that leverages prior efforts and provided a pathway for successfully integrating large amounts of solar generation.


Project Title: Integrated Simulation Development and Decision Support Tool-Set for Utility Market and Distributed Solar Power Generation
Location: Valencia, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $218,457
Awardee Cost Share: $560,000
**This project is inactive**
Project Description: This project worked to develop a simulation and decision support toolset for real-time operations personnel to simulate the utility grid in real time and integrate with the existing distribution management system of the San Diego Gas & Electric utility.

Soft Costs Awardee

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Project Title: Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA)
Location: Arlington, VA
SunShot Award Amount: $3,645,657
Awardee Cost Share: $1,215,220
Project Description: This project is developing standard designs for 0.25 megawatt (MW), 0.5 MW, and 1 MW solar projects and accelerating PV maturity at electric cooperatives through these standardized designs, streamlined financing, packaged insurance, and extensive training and outreach. NRECA partners with 17 cooperatives in 15 states covering more than 150 counties to deploy 23 MW in less than three years with aggressive cost reduction targets. This project's replicable designs and models will help a significant number of the 800+ electric cooperatives nationwide.

Learn more about SunShot's other systems integration and soft costs funding programs.