An interesting pilot project focused on advanced grid-interactive distributed photovoltaic (PV) and storage is being researched by a trio of well known players in the clean economy field. Solar installer SolarCity, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors and the University of California, Berkeley are all taking part in this solar energy research initiative via a $1.7 million grant from from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research Development, Deployment and Demonstration (CSI RD&D) Program.

The program, according to SolarCity, is to advance battery storage technology for the PV market, whereby this storage can manage the flow of solar electricity for use by a home or business, and extend production into the evening, even after the sun goes down. In the pilot SolarCity will make use of Tesla’s vehicle battery system and its own SolarGuard dispatch and monitoring platform to “create a combined photovoltaic (PV) and stationary storage product which can be installed in homes and businesses. The battery storage will collect excess PV power production so that during peak periods, the utility can pull from battery storage rather than power plants which have greater emissions.”

image via SolarCity
image via SolarCity

Nothing further was mentioned of the project as of yet, including what role UC Berkeley specifically will play. “Battery storage will be an important component in the mass adoption of PV, it will make solar electricity a more predictable energy source,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive in a statement.

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