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UH gets $6.1M grant to help HECO absorb more solar energy

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:57 p.m. HST, Sep 2, 2011

The University of Hawaii has been awarded $6.1 million in federal funding to develop equipment that will allow Hawaiian Electric Co. to accept more solar power into its grid.

The funding is part of a $6.9 million grant the state from the U.S. Department of Energy for two solar energy technology projects.

UH researchers will develop two photovoltaic inverters that will be controlled by the utility through smart-grid technology, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

“This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the impacts of distributed PV systems and facilitate their broader adoption at lower cost,” according to the news release. HECO currently regulates the amount of solar-generated electricity that can be fed into the grid.

Another $750,000 was awarded to the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to help the Public Utilities Commission in its effort to resolve grid-reliability issues and allow utilities to bring more renewable energy sources online.

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