Energy storage technologies have a crucial role to play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy. Yet despite significant growth of the energy storage market in recent years, the process of connecting this technology to the electric grid remains complex and unclear in many states across the U.S.
With support from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, IREC is leading a team of partners to simplify the interconnection process for standalone energy storage and solar-plus-storage projects. This project—BATRIES (Building a Technically Reliable Interconnection Evolution for Storage)—will achieve that goal by addressing the barriers to storage interconnection and identifying solutions that will pave the way for rapid deployment of storage on the distribution grid.
As IREC President and CEO Larry Sherwood explains, “In many states, if you propose a system with solar-plus-storage, the rules about how to interconnect to the grid are not at all clear. That creates a lot of uncertainty for developers, which increases costs and may scare them away from certain markets. As a result, the full benefits of storage are not realized. Establishing best practices for the interconnection of storage to the grid is critical to sustaining market growth and enabling significant clean energy deployment.”
Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA)
California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA)
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Inc. (NHEC)
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP (SMW)
- Identify and develop solutions to regulatory and technical barriers in the storage interconnection process
- Create a nationally applicable toolkit of solutions that apply to diverse states and markets
- Conduct extensive training and educational outreach to drive adoption of these solutions in a majority of states
- Overarching objective: Reduce soft costs by developing solutions to address the barriers to interconnecting energy storage and solar-plus-storage systems to the distribution grid
This three-year project is divided into three phases.
In Year 1, which began in April 2020, the project partners will identify and prioritize key challenges in the interconnection process for energy storage and solar-plus-storage projects. The project team will explore solutions, through meetings and workshops with technical experts, utilities, solar and storage industry representatives, and other stakeholders. This will inform the creation of a roadmap document that defines the scope and contents that will be included in the Toolkit of solutions to be developed.
In Year 2, IREC and partners will develop a first-of-its-kind, nationally applicable Toolkit of solutions and guidance to address the identified barriers to grid connection of standalone energy storage and solar-plus-storage projects.
Year 3 will focus on outreach and training to support adoption of the solutions in the Toolkit. The team will increase national awareness and utilization of the Toolkit by educating and training state regulators, utility staff, DER industry stakeholders and others about the Toolkit.
By the project’s end, the team will have educated and trained regulators and utilities in at least 35 states about the project and Toolkit. Our goal is that the majority of state regulatory commissions and utility engineers will use the Toolkit as a reference for the adoption and implementation of recommended interconnection practices and solutions.
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This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy and Technologies Office Award Number DE-DE-EE0009002.0001. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.