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US Energy Department awards $3M for R&D on behind-the-meter control systems for DER

Eaton announced it has been awarded a $3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to pursue research and development initiatives involving control systems for behind-the-meter solar and energy storage.

Eaton’s research will focus on developing a real-time controller for behind-the-meter distributed energy resources and loads, such as solar generation and battery storage. The project will integrate data from smart meters to enable enhanced grid services that improve reliability in distribution systems with high solar penetration.

Eaton’s partners in this research project include: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Pecan Street, Provo City Power and Commonwealth Edison. To ensure the development of a scalable, real-world solution that minimizes adoption risk, the research and development team will work with existing utility infrastructure.

 “We’re delighted to be supporting the energy transition in the United States, driving solar research alongside leading thinkers in academia and industry,” said Ramanath Ramakrishnan, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Eaton.

“Our strategic partnership with SETO is central to our efforts to advance intelligent power management innovation. We also very much appreciate the support of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Thanks to this grant, we and our research partners can help make tomorrow’s energy systems more reliable, efficient, safe and sustainable.”

Eaton was selected as a part of the Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2019 funding program, an effort to invest in new projects that will lower solar electricity costs, while working to boost solar manufacturing and make solar systems more resilient to cyberattack. Eaton’s project is one of several solar systems integration technology projects that improve the ability of grid operators to integrate increasing amounts of solar generation into the grid in a cost-effective, secure, resilient, and reliable manner.

“Technical innovation and lower-cost renewables are driving huge changes in how power is generated, stored and consumed,” said Tim Avampato, senior manager, Eaton Research Labs. “Now is the perfect time to focus on building the capabilities we need to support a clean energy future. Our work will help maintain a reliable power grid, optimize the utilization of behind-the-meter solar generation and improve the return on solar technology investments.”


Eaton, EPRI, NREL, Pecan Street and Commonwealth Edison will be at DISTRIBUTECH International, which takes place January 28-30 in San Antonio. Further, Suzanne Russo, CEO of Pecan Street is the luminary speaker for the e-Mobility and Smart Cities Knowledge Hub. Don’t miss her speech on Clean Energy’s Killer App – What it Will Take to Connect Clean Energy, Transportation and the Smart Communities We’ve Been Promised