U.S. Department of Energy fosters research into solar energy reliability for vulnerable communities

Staff Reports

SAN MARCOS – Sasha Dong, assistant professor in the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University, has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to promote the adoption of solar energy and energy storage by vulnerable communities to improve their energy resilience and ensure reliable energy supply during power failure.

The project, “Enhancing Community Energy Resilience through Solar Energy and Energy Storage Sharing,” will be funded by the $400,000 grant. The Texas State project is one of eight two-year solar energy research projects the DOE has funded across the seven schools, which include historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

Dong’s research at Texas State focuses on disaster management and emergency response.

Major grid disturbances, such as natural disasters and planned blackouts, can severely impact vulnerable communities across the country. To address these challenges, the team will partner with local communities to develop a system that can provide affordable solar and energy storage service through cost sharing, with no need for individual device management.

To accomplish this, the team will identify the technical and economic bottlenecks to energy resilience, assess metrics such as cost efficiency, reliability and equity, and find ways to accommodate vulnerable communities through mutual assistance.

For more information, visit www.energy.gov/eere/solar/msrdc-science-and-technology-research-partnership.

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