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Stem, a provider of energy optimization services, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) have announced a pilot project to study the impact of high-penetration solar photovoltaics (PV) on the grid.

According to the companies, the two-year research project will utilize Stem's high-resolution data collection, cloud-based power system analytics and energy storage capabilities to reduce electricity costs for customers.

During the first phase of the project, Stem and SMUD will work with residential and commercial customer volunteers from a solar-powered community to install Stem's PowerMonitor data collection and analysis solution, examining the impact of a high- penetration of PV on distribution circuit power quality.

The data collected by Stem will inform SMUD of the amount of PV that can be added to a distribution feeder while maintaining grid stability and power quality. The companies say these results will answer key questions, including the effects of the second-by-second ramp rates of PV on SMUD's system and how distributed storage can be used to mitigate these effects.

"We're looking forward to exploring the potential for the greater integration of solar energy into Sacramento's electric distribution system," says SMUD’s Mark Rawson. "Stem's technology will enable us to both gather information and test solutions to possibly enable more clean energy in our community."

Potential follow-on work may include SMUD deploying Stem's distributed storage systems to test the potential for automatic, fast-responding distributed storage to improve power quality for customers on circuits with a high penetration of PV.

"SMUD has shown admirable leadership in their commitment to better integrating renewable energy into the grid," says Stem CEO Salim Khan. "We look forward to working with their innovative R&D division to apply our core competencies in data, analytics and power to pave the way for a sunnier energy future in Sacramento."




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