Initiated in 2008, the Solar Energy Grid Integration System (SEGIS) initiative is a partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), U.S. industry, electrical utilities, and universities. Its focus is on the development of technologies required to facilitate the integration of high-penetration connections and large-scale photovoltaic (PV) power generation into the nation’s grid. The SEGIS program is a three-year, three-stage initiative that includes conceptual design and market analysis in Stage 1, prototype development and testing in Stage 2, and movement toward commercialization or actual commercialization in Stage 3. Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AE) and its SEGIS team consisting of Portland General Electric (PGE), Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL), Northern Plains Power Technologies (NPPT), and SNL, have successfully collaborated to complete the work under the third and final stage of the SEGIS initiative.
The goal of the SEGIS initiative is to remove barriers to large-scale general integration of PV and to enhance the value proposition of PV energy by enabling PV to act as much as possible as if it were equivalent to a conventional utility power plant. It is immediately apparent that the advanced inverters and controllers go beyond looking like conventional power plants, making high penetrations of PV not just acceptable, but desirable to interconnected utilities. That said, PV power generating plants will not achieve their full potential until utilities cease to regard them as a problem or potential hazard, but instead as a resource that can be monitored and dispatched to contribute to the overall efficiency and stability of the electrical grid.