UTSA research will have lasting impact on future power production in U.S.

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(Oct. 10th, 2011) --The UTSA Office of Research Development announced today that Hariharan Krishnaswami, UTSA assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; David Han, UTSA assistant professor of management science and statistics; and Hazem Rashed-Ali, UTSA assistant professor of architecture were awarded a $100,000 grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute for their research proposal, "Modeling Photo-Voltaic Systems with Spatial and Temporal Variability." The research will help utilities predict the impact of solar plant variability on the power grid, and it will help building designers accurately size building integrated photo-voltaic systems.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, Krishnaswami, Han and Rashed-Ali will investigate ways to help utility system planners and operators effectively prepare for the United States' future electrical grid needs. Specifically, the researchers will study how time, space and building design affect the efficient conversion of solar power (photo-voltaic systems) into electricity.

"The power output of a PV system is inherently variable and creates system instability," said Krishnaswami. The sources of variability come from many different uncorrelated and uncertain factors such as solar radiation measures, weather patterns, temperatures, air quality and geographical separation. A calculation of the system's output variability on any spatial and temporal resolution would provide utility system planners and operators better data to reliably operate the grid."

By 2030, the United States would like to see at least 20 percent of its electricity come from distributed and renewable energy sources.
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