Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory

Smart Solar Energy for the Smart Grid

November 20, 2013

Prof. Brad Lehman, Ph.D.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
11:00 a.m. – 12 noon
Argonne National Laboratory
TCS Building 240
Room 4301

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations traditionally are stand-alone systems without integrated computation. However, it is possible to use real-time processes to adaptively reconfigure solar PV installations while sensing and computing environmental factors. This talk will introduce new concepts that enable solar installations to adapt their performance to environmental conditions. For example, a smart PV panel has been built that can self-heal and self-optimize to produce higher power. Specialized solar fuses can even communicate between themselves and panels to give diagnostics for dangerous and previously undetectable faults.

Future visions include using sensor information, weather patterns, and high-performance computing to predict PV power in large geographic regions. This requires combining sophisticated solar theoretical models, statistical signal processing, and fast algorithms. The potential synergies could lead to better prediction of output power production on multiple time scales: minutes, hours, days, months, and years. This information is vital for the future of smart grid operation.

Brad Lehman is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University. He previously was a Hearin Hess Distinguished Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University, as well as an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow, an Alcoa Science Foundation Fellow, and a visiting scientist at MIT. Professor Lehman was recently highlighted in the inaugural edition of the book The 300 Best Professors, Princeton Review, 2012. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.

Photo of Brad Lehman
Photo of Brad Lehman [Source: Northeastern University]