Smart DG Hub: Emergency Power

Smart Distributed Generation Hub - Resilient Solar Project

The City University of New York has won a Department Of Energy Award to Spur Solar Electric Systems For Emergency Power During Power Outages. NYC Media ReleaseDOE Media Release

Sustainable CUNY, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Meister Consultants Group (MCG), will develop a strategic pathway to a more resilient distributed energy system through the NYSolar Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub – Resilient Solar Project, a three-year initiative.

The Impetus

New York State (NYS) now has more than 18,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and is one of the fastest growing solar markets in America, yet there are few known PV systems with battery storage in NYC, and NYS utilities have no process to track resilient PV systems. NY’s rapidly growing PV market remains underutilized as a resource due to multiple barriers to adding storage capability.

the Resilient Solar Project

The Smart DG Hub will create a pathway to integrating resilient PV systems into the NYC infrastructure by creating a Smart DG Roadmap for Resilient Solar and by adding resiliency analysis to the NY Solar Calculator. The additional resiliency components to the NY Solar Calculator will be made available to the public on the NY Solar Map (under development) by the third year of the project and will help capture for the first time the full spectrum of value streams for solar systems with battery storage.

A Roadmap for Resilient Solar

The Roadmap for Resilient Solar will be developed by committed solar stakeholders, including NYSERDA, NYC Mayor’s Office, NYPA, NYC EDC, Con Edison, National Grid, NYC DOB, FDNY, NYC Office of Emergency Management, SEPA, EPRI, NY-BEST and more. Through Working Groups, these subject matter experts will address the key areas to resiliency integration: Policy & Legal, Economics & Finance, Hardware Technologies, and Software & Communication Technologies. A Smart DG Hub Industry Advisory Board comprised of installation companies, battery manufactures, and inverter companies, including GE, SunPower, First Solar, Princeton Power, SMA and more, has been formed to further guide the Working Groups in the development of the Resilient Solar Roadmap. The Roadmap will be disseminated in the second and third years of the project and will include a pathway to integrating several tiers of resiliency, from immediate measures, such as retrofitting existing systems with inverters that offer “daylight emergency power,” to more complex forms of resiliency, such as large PV systems with storage on critical infrastructure, through a framework of demonstration projects.

A resiliency Calculator

The calculator will provide decision makers with the necessary tools to make educated investments. Beyond supplying emergency power, resilient PV systems can play a critical energy-saving role in peak shaving and load shifting when the grid is constrained or when consumers are anticipating heavy energy usage. The team will utilize the resiliency components of the NYS Solar Calculator and other resources to assist implementation of real-world case studies of installing resilient solar systems on critical infrastructure, such as shelters, schools, hospitals, gas stations and food suppliers, as well as installing resilient PV with islanding capability and the integration of PV into a microgrid. First-hand knowledge developed through these experiences will also support the creation of a Critical Infrastructure Resilience Guide.

Tracking Resilient Power

As larger resilient solar systems with storage are installed, a process will be established that will enable the tracking of these systems to better inform utility and city planners. Systems that can supply emergency power to the public will be located on the NY Solar Map. The team will utilize the resiliency components of the NYS Solar Calculator and other resources to assist implementation of real-world case studies of installing resilient solar systems on critical infrastructure, such as shelters, schools, hospitals, gas stations and food suppliers, as well as installing resilient PV with islanding capability and the integration of PV into a microgrid. First-hand knowledge developed through these experiences will also support the creation of a Critical Infrastructure Resilience Guide, which will identify up to 5 types of infrastructure that are essential for municipal operations and provide recommendations on how to make them more resilient.

 


Background

CUNY serves as one of NYC’s prime partners in its coastal storm shelter operations. Sustainable CUNY leads the implementation of Federal, State and City initiatives creating a comprehensive and streamlined infrastructure for the wide scale adoption of solar technology in NYC. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it was determined that while the 672 solar arrays on NYC rooftops at that time sustained little or no damage during the storm, they were unable to supply critically needed power during the subsequent outage. While the capability exists, in order to tap into this resource on a broad scale, key issues such as system design, costs, technology integration, incentive structure, codes and regulations need to be addressed.

CUNYNYCDGCover2

In January of 2013 CUNY convened a working meeting for local, regional and federal agencies as well as key industry partners to discuss energy infrastructure resiliency in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the third storm to seriously compromise NYC’s power supply in less than 2 years. (see presentation) It was the consensus, that NYC, and other at-risk areas, would benefit from a coordinated focus in order to incorporate emergency functionality within existing and future distributed generation (DG) deployment. In addition, with the prolonged and extensive interruption to several key energy services, general sentiment reflected a need to strengthen and extend energy planning and design towards more resilient energy infrastructure, and reinforce options for integrating emergency distributed power generation in a more comprehensive manner. (See CUNY presentation on left)

Correlated with the outages seen in Sandy and past storms, the participants tended to focus on the electric grid, while acknowledging similar challenges for transportation fuels and services as well as regional areas that experienced natural gas interruptions or more broadly the loss of heating system functionality. Smart DG Hub Meeting Report <pdf>

PilotProjectsGraphic

Integrating Resilient DG Energy Systems 

CUNY utilized the framework depicted here to facilitate meeting conversations and the formation of the Smart DG Hub. This graphic illustrates how pilot projects can bridge the needs of market innovation and deployment across legal and policy decision-makers, finance institutions, and the software and hardware companies bringing solutions to the market. As an example, deploying dynamically controlled inverters, which are emerging technologies for smart and resilient DG applications, draws heavily upon research and development teams in coordination with software and communication protocols, finance and the regulatory environment.

early Steps

Smart DG Hub

The participants at the working meeting agreed on the need to establishing a platform to realize the goals of a more resilient DG infrastructure.  Accordingly, CUNY agreed to continue convening this group and to assisting with developing the projects proposed in partnership with the group. The Smart Distributed Generation Hub will gather together and foster deployment of the innovations required to realize the vision of a more resilient energy grid.

Inverter’s Roundtable

Sustainable CUNY and NYSERDA convened the first meeting of the Inverter’s Roundtable in March of 2013. The goal of the roundtable is to establish an informed conduit between the inverter industry and the Smart DG Hub, identify pilot projects and better inform policy makers who are considering rebuilding options and new measures.

NYC Resilient Inverter Workshop

CUNY convened NYC’s first Resilient Inverter Workshop on June 5th, bringing in  five of the top inverter companies to present to NYC solar installers and stakeholders new- or new to New York- technologies that will ideally help create a more resilient New York City. Presentations

For additional information please contact Sustainable CUNY at: nysolar@cuny.edu