Development of a Low-Cost Residential Plug-and-Play Photovoltaic System
North Carolina State University FREEDM Systems Engineering Center and its partners, under the Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics FOA, are performing analysis, design, and innovation to address each stage in the value chain of grid-interactive residential photovoltaic (PV) systems, while taking a broader systems perspective encompassing the PV supply chain, codes and standards, regulations, inspection, and marketability.
The objective of this comprehensive university-industry consortium project is to improve all aspects of residential solar PV systems through major innovation, refinement, and standardization. The project team will address these issues in four integrated, concurrent efforts:
- Structural Design Innovations to reduce the materials content and manufacturing costs of the structural elements of the panels, as well as the installation and mounting components.
- Power Electronics Design Innovations to reduce the cost and improve the performance and reliability of the electrical components of the system other than the panels.
- Grid Integration and Management to simplify the integration of the panels into the electrical grid, including communications, control, and safety considerations.
- System Design for the Market to address system engineering as well as the nontechnical barriers to installation, including aesthetics, supply chain, maintenance, legal, and electrical and building code issues.
Project partners include: the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA); the University of Toledo; Isofoton North America; ABB; and Quanta Technology.
This project will substantially reduce the unit cost of installed residential solar PV systems by creating standard components and system designs that require little or no custom engineering, can be installed and connected to the grid efficiently, and meet refined building and electrical codes.
Learn about other DOE competitive awards for systems integration research that are in progress.