Energy research at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte recently had good news. The university reported a $3.6 million Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office chose UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) as one of ten national awards, the only in North Carolina.

Dr. Badrul Chowdhury. principal investigator

This work is to “develop an advanced microgrid control architecture. It will be able to coordinate seamlessly with the bulk power grid at multiple points of common coupling, automatically balance load and generation, provide critical services at a minimum, detect faulty conditions on a continuous basis, communicate with distributed energy resources, form networked microgrids with neighboring communities when needed and maintain safe operating conditions at all times.” (UNCC news release, feature image)

The university said the proposed control architecture will be tested using a system in which laboratories will have direct, real-time connections to microgrids operated by the major utilities in North Carolina. A field demonstration at Duke Energy’s Hot Springs microgrid is planned.

What is especially good to see in this award is the way that academia, state government and industry will team-up on an important energy issue.

UNC Charlotte said the EPIC award is one of several systems integration projects that will enhance solar energy’s contribution to grid resilience and reliability.

Congratulations to EPIC and UNC Charlotte. Here’s the way the university describes the project.