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by Jeff St. John
November 30, 2018

We regularly track the states that are integrating distributed energy resources into their utility distribution grid planning and operations, from vanguards like California, New York and Hawaii, to more nascent efforts in Nevada and Minnesota.

Now it’s time to turn to Arizona, a state that’s also struggling to adapt to the impacts of booming solar growth — and not just inside its own borders.

Earlier this month, Arizona Public Service launched a pilot project that could serve as the state’s broadest DER integration effort to date. It’s with EnergyHub, maker of a distributed energy resource management system platform that will be controlling a host of grid resources — connected thermostats, water heaters, battery energy storage, and solar inverters, specifically — to “dynamically manage its portfolio of grid-edge devices through peak demand reduction, load shifting and renewables matching, and solar inverter management and curtailment.”

This isn’t the first time APS has tested the capabilities of DERs to manage local and system-wide grid imbalances. "We’ve done significant work, some industry-leading work on advanced inverters and solar integration," Marc Romito, APS’ Director of Customer Technology, said in an interview last week.

APS’ Solar Partner program, for instance, has broken new ground in terms of large-scale testing of advanced solar inverter capabilities, with 1,600 PV-equipped homes participating. Its Solar Innovation Study is pairing behind-the-meter batteries from Sunverge with home energy management systems for grid optimization.

But the new project with EnergyHub is an effort by APS to “look at energy efficiency and demand side management totally differently,” he said. Specifically, the project grew out of APS’ efforts to modernize their traditional efficiency and DSM programs “to manage this imbalance due to excess daytime solar, and look at using these programs to integrate more of it.”