Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, are behind the invention of DERconnect. The Initial DER stands for Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as electric vehicle batteries and rooftop solar panels. DERs could have spread quickly throughout the US, only that the grid managers are faced with a challenging situation. DERs are part of electricity generation though in small proportions.
DERconnect intends to remove that obstacle by providing comprehensive details without any assumption. It will give information about EV batteries, smart meters, stationary energy storage, and cybersecurity. DERconnect has an energy storage testing facility, 300 electric vehicle charging stations, over 2500 DERSs on the UC-San Diego campus microgrid, and dozens of buildings. The DERconnect team is planning to use the knowledge it has to come up with as many devices as possible for users with the least overheads and a failsafe system for experimenting anytime.
If all goes as planned, DERconnect is expected to share with other consumers by 2025, and not any time soon. The green grid will be attained in the near future since numerous activities are taking place to make this happen. For instance, more electric vehicles are being manufactured, decreasing the solar power cost, and installing more distributed wind turbines by the US Department of Energy.
Recycled power costs have relatively gone down with great assistance from new financial instruments; however, accessing renewable power is a big problem, especially for middle and low-income households. Therefore, policymakers are coming up with strategies to speed the growth of the DERs market.
The DERconnect team is trying to reach out to the underrepresented communities so that they can recruit grid planners, researchers, and engineers with the purpose of decarbonizing microgrids. One of these projects is the high school outreach program that intends to attract engineering students to UC-San Diego from underrepresented areas.
In UC-San Diego, the school feels that DERconnect has gained the necessary experience, intellectual backbone, and talent of its three-year NODES project. Professor Martinez Sonia from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is the one co-leading DER connect.
Energy Department has given the NODES project a grant of $2.88 million to control technologies for the integration of DERs and renewables. The money will also help to develop transformational grid management and decrease carbon footprint. UC-San Diego is part of the perovskite solar cell research, and it is significantly pushing for the next generation of perovskite solar cells at a low cost.