US DOE: Austin Energy biggest winner under SHINES storage program

A part of its SunShot program, first unveiled in 2011 with the aim of driving down solar PV system installation costs to $1 per watt, the U.S. DOE last week announced a $220 million grid modernization initiative. Under this, it has created the Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) program.

The goal is to develop and demonstrate integrated PV and energy storage solutions that are "scalable, secure, reliable, and cost-effective." It is the first program at DOE to focus exclusively on connecting renewable power to storage.

Under SHINES, DOE has awarded $18 million in funding to six projects. It is hoped they will improve the resiliency, reliability and security of the U.S. electrical power grid, said DOE in a statement released. All projects will be either led by a utility, or include one as a key partner.

"The projects will work to dramatically increase solar-generated electricity that can be dispatched at any time … to meet consumer electricity needs … Achieving the SHINES goals is a critical step in the pathway towards enabling hundreds of gigawatts of solar to be integrated reliably and cost-effectively onto the electric grid," according to the SHINES website.

The biggest beneficiary of the $18 million funding was Austin Energy, which was awarded $4.3 million to come up with a solution for offering solar, to any region or market structure, at a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of $0.14/kWh, when combined with storage, for example.

See the table below, adapted from DOE, for a full description of all projects awarded funding:



Amount (US$)

Project description


Austin Energy


$4.3 million

Demonstrate a solution adaptable to any region and market structure that offers a credible pathway to a LCOE of 14¢/kWh for solar when augmented by storage and other distributed energy resource management options.

1Energy Systems, Clean Power Research, ConnectDER, ERCOT, Ideal Power Converters, Landis & Gyr, Pecan Street, Inc., Samsung SDI, Solar Edge, Tesla

Commonwealth Edison Company


$4 million

Address availability and variability issues inherent in PV technology by utilizing smart inverters for solar PV/battery storage and working synergistically with other components within a microgrid community.

Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Denver, Veriown, Azimuth Energy, Schneider Electric, S&C Electric, OSIsoft, Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy La


Fraunhofer USA, Center For Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE)


$3.5 million

Develop and demonstrate a highly scalable, integrated PV, storage, and facility load management solution.

National Grid, EnerNOC

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)


$3.1 million

EPRI will work with five utilities to design, develop and demonstrate technology for end to end grid integration of energy storage and load management with photovoltaic generation.

FirstEnergy, NYPA, Con Edison, Southern Company, Gulf Power, Case Western Reserve University, Queens College of the City University of New York, Sandia National Laboratories

Eaton, Alstom, Clean Power Research, PowerHub Systems, LG Chem

Hawaiian Electric Company


$2.4 million

Demonstrate successful SHINES deployments and show the system-level benefits of enhanced utility visibility and control of distribution system/edge-of-network electricity resources.

Siemens, Alstom, DNV GL, AWS Truepower, Referentia Systems, Apparent, and Stem

Carnegie Mellon University


$1 million

Develop and demonstrate a distributed, agent based control system to integrate smart inverters, energy storage, and commercial off-the-shelf home automation controllers and smart thermostats.

NRECA, Aquion Energy