(AUSTIN, Tex. – October 31, 2023) – The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a five-year, $7.9 million Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program (GRIP) grant to Pecan Street Inc. and its partners to develop and deploy technology that will allow utilities to manage solar supply and energy demand throughout the grid. The technology will be deployed in Delaware, where system congestion has forced utilities to deny any additional solar installations across large swaths of the state.

Pecan Street’s partners include Delaware Electric Cooperative, The Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware, Clean Energy USA, Imani Energy, and Energize Delaware. 

“Our electricity system requires real-time balancing of energy supply and demand,” said Scott Hinson, chief technology officer of Pecan Street and the project lead. “That becomes a problem for the grid if too much solar is produced when there’s not enough demand. Our technology will manage how much solar energy enters the grid to match current demand.”

Launched in 2009, Pecan Street has developed various communication and metering technologies that power its residential energy research network. Across nearly a dozen states and Puerto Rico, Pecan Street collects energy use data from multiple circuits of volunteers’ homes every second. The resulting data has spurred groundbreaking research on solar generation, electric vehicle charging behavior, home energy storage, and potential load-balancing opportunities. 

The boom in residential solar installation has created a congestion challenge in several areas. In Delaware, grid operators have prohibited new grid connections for nearly 40,000 homes in these so-called “red zones,” representing thousands of potential solar homes and megawatts of valuable renewable energy.

“Hosting capacity limitations are happening in more areas, precisely at a time when we need to encourage solar investment and expand solar access to more customers, including underserved communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation,” said Pecan Street CEO Dr. Anissa Rodriguez Dickerman. “Addressing these limitations will have impacts far beyond Delaware, and we are thrilled we have been selected to put our technology into practice.”

About Pecan Street Inc.
Pecan Street Inc. is internationally renowned for its pioneering research model, which integrates communities, technology developers, data scientists and advocates to accelerate the pace of innovation for climate and conservation solutions. Pecan Street applies a high-impact research and development approach to high-potential, cost-effective climate solutions that are impeded by a lack of data and technology readiness. 

Pecan Street’s database of customer energy generation and use data is the most robust on the planet. More than 500 peer-reviewed papers that used Pecan Street data have been published on issues including climate change, electric system reliability, transportation electrification, and urban resilience. Pecan Street’s Center for Race, Energy and Climate Justice focuses on advancing a just climate transition. Pecan Street is a 501(c)(3) applied research and commercialization institute in Austin, Texas. pecanstreet.org | @PecanStreetInc

Colin Rowan, Pecan Street Inc., media@pecanstreet.org, 512-222-9603