SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) signed a cooperative research agreement with the National Renewal Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the Department of Energy to evaluate the operational issues related with high degrees of solar penetration on electric grids.

SolarCity Corp, Hawaiian Electric Ink Research Agreement with NREL

Hawaiian Electric Company, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HE) is collaborating on the research to analyze high penetration solar scenarios.

The companies will conduct the study at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) using advanced modeling and inverter testing.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ:SCTY) and Hawaiian Electric Company are testing the dynamic of inverter-based assets on grid system, voltage regulation and bi-directional power flows.

Excellent opportunity to help reduce risk

In a statement, Martha Symko-Davies, director of partnerships for Energy Systems Integration at NREL said, “This is an excellent opportunity to utilize ESIF’s unique capability to evaluate system-level issues such as anti-islanding, and help reduce risk and minimize the R&D challenges a power distributor or producer may face.”

NREL will also evaluate the PV generation curtailment hardware and software of SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) through a remote signal. The test is based on the potential need for PV power curtailment, or the use of less solar power than is potentially available at a specific time.

On the other hand, Colton Ching, vice president for energy delivery at Hawaiian Electric Company acknowledged the importance of solar power as an option for its customers. He said, “Solving these issues requires that everyone – utilities, the solar industry and other leading technical experts like NREL – work together. That’s what this work is all about.”

Hawaiian Electric Company is providing technical input on testing and setup during the entire process. It is also providing feedback on the results of the study.  The company already observed promising initial test results.

SolarCity ensures solar is an asset to grip operators

According to SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY), they recently announced a plan for the approval of net-metered for customers who are waiting to interconnect their rooftop solar systems in neighborhood with high amounts of installed solar.

Hawaiian Electric Company expects to approve nearly all customers who have been waiting for interconnection over the next five much given the preliminary results of the research.

Peter Rive, co-founder and Chief technology officer at SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) said the company is “committed to ensuring that solar is an asset to grid operators.” He added that the research will take SolarCity further in achieving that goal.

Furthermore, Jon Yoshimura, director of policy and electricity markets at SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) said the company’s collaboration with Hawaiian Electric Company has been fruitful, and praised its effort in taking early test results and instituting policy changes to help the solar industry in Hawaii.