California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER)
announced $1.4 million in funding for UC San Diego that will accelerate the
development and deployment of renewable energy technologies for Californians.
UC San Diego’s portion will boost solar forecasting research, support the
campus’ deployment of solar powered electric vehicle charging stations, solar
integrated energy storage systems, and improved information technology
architecture with grid operators.
investment in research on renewable energy projects will help accelerate its
development and application in California,”
said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert B. Weisenmiller. “The partnership with
UC San Diego expands on the campus’ expertise in clean energy.”
Diego environmental engineering professor Jan Kleissl will use $469,447 of the
CEC funding to advance his critically acclaimed solar forecasting research.
Kleissl, who has been focusing on solar energy for nearly a decade, currently
uses advanced weather stations and sky imaging tools to create intra-hour solar
production forecasts. Under the new grant, Kleissl and his team will work with
local and national weather forecasting companies to combine these technologies
to come up with the optimal solar forecasting method. Kleissl, who will also
develop software, plans to have a prototype developed by next year. The
research will use ensemble forecasting techniques to improve the accuracy of
cloud cover every 15 minutes in order to predict the production of electricity
from solar systems.
particularly relevant for California’s unique
and notorious coastal and Central Valley fog
patterns. With greater accuracy in forecasting solar electricity generation,
the expense and emissions of standby generators can be drastically reduced,”
techniques are used in weather forecasting to anticipate variations from the
inputs that in turn permits the model to automatically and accurately
recalculate a forecast on a near continuous basis. This research will be the
first application of ensemble technologies to solar power production. If
successful, the advancement will be transferred to private forecasting services
to help California
efficiently achieve by 2020 its 33% Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
“California has been a
leader in funding solar forecasting research due to the visionary steps taken
by the CEC,” Kleissl said. “This is justified as the majority of solar power
installations will be in California.
While currently much less than 1% of the state energy comes from solar power
plants, we need to develop the tools now that can help us in two-to-five years
when we will have a lot more solar power on the grid.”
research is part of a booming solar sector in San Diego, which is a state leader in solar
energy. According to the California Solar Initiative, San Diego has the greatest solar photovoltaic
(PV) adoption rates in the state and currently holds the designation as the
number one solar city, due to the number of solar PV rooftop installations.
balance of the new CEC funding will primarily focus on solar energy storage,
renewable energy charging of electric vehicles, and IT architecture with grid
operators. San Diego has also been designated an iHub for innovation in solar
energy storage technology to provide a platform for research clusters, startup
companies, government entities, business groups, and venture capitalists by
leveraging assets such as research parks, technology incubators, universities,
and federal laboratories to foster innovation and job creation statewide.
will further accelerate UC San Diego as a critical test bed for emerging energy
storage systems from the private sector to be integrated with existing solar
and other renewable technologies on campus,” said solar pioneer Byron Washom,
the co-lead for the CEC grant and director of the university’s strategic energy
is presently deliberating the targets for energy storage after the passage of
AB2514 to improve the efficiency of the state grid and lower the cost of
delivered energy, and the ability to demonstrate the various storage
technologies will significantly contribute to this process. Bringing in
innovators from the private sector to demonstrate their systems on campus is a
key to the success of boosting renewable energy use on campus and across the California.”
added that the funding will contribute to the on-going “Tailpipe Endgame”
project that seeks to utilize a scheduled 4 megawatts of renewable energy on
the UC San Diego microgird for the direct charging of a fleet of electric
vehicles in order to achieve zero tailpipe emissions. This is one of several
projects being jointly undertaken by Smart City San Diego, a new public-private
collaboration that aims to improve the region’s energy independence, empower
consumers to adopt electric vehicles, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive
economic growth. The partnership includes the City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric
(SDG&E), GE, CleanTECH San Diego, and UC San Diego.
quantum advancement will establish the technical feasibility of using renewable
energy to electrify the transportation sectors while inciting the global
competitive forces to leapfrog to the one solution that provides the greatest
sustainable, secure supply of energy and reduces the largest global source of
greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollutants,” Washom said.
Krevat, director of smart grid for SDG&E and member of the Smart City San
Diego Advisory Committee, said the CEC grant will provide valuable research to
the numerous clean tech projects throughout the San Diego region that are working to assist
with the development of a more efficient grid.
“We must be forward-thinking about how we will
support the needs of residents and businesses who are adopting technologies
like plug-in electric vehicles and rooftop solar at a rapid rate,” Krevat said.