DOE awards ComEd $4 million for solar, microgrid technology

solar power microgrid elp

ComEd received a $4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to design and deploy solar power and battery storage technology within its planned microgrid demonstration project in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

A microgrid is a localized power system that can provide power to customers without having to rely on the main grid. Microgrids help improve grid resilience and security by lowering the impact of power outages due to severe weather, security, or other disruptions.

The microgrid demonstration project in Bronzeville — as well as the solar and battery storage it integrates — will be located next to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s microgrid and part of the first microgrid cluster in the world.

This demonstration project is an important precursor to ComEd’s proposed development, via its Future Energy Plan legislation currently under consideration in Springfield, of six microgrids in northern Illinois. Each of these microgrids will bring increased resiliency and security to critical public infrastructure.

SunShot Initiative funding allows for the creation of a microgrid-integrated solar-storage technology system at ComEd’s planned microgrid demonstration site in Bronzeville. This new system will allow for the widespread use of low-cost, flexible, and reliable solar photovoltaic generation, as well as the use of battery energy storage systems.

The Bronzeville microgrid demonstration project also provides a foundation for the creation of a “Community of the Future” in Bronzeville – a neighborhood in which the smart grid is fully leveraged to connect residents to each other and to the many valuable uses of smart grid technology, from energy savings to more energy choices to sensor-enabled lighting, parking and transportation applications. ComEd continues to engage Bronzeville leaders and organizations to refine and bring to fruition some of the many possibilities of a clean, innovative Community of the Future in this historic Chicago neighborhood.

ComEd is working with several partners to bring MISST technology to its Bronzeville microgrid demonstration project, including Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), University of Denver, Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, S&C Electric and G&W Electric.

The award marks the second time in as many years that ComEd has received federal funding to pursue the development of microgrid technology.

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