Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University Receives U.S. Department of Energy Funding to Advance Solar Inverter Technology

Amanda Bowman

April 22, 2020

Solar panels

Beibei Ren, Stephen Bayne and Manohar Chamana are partnering with industry leaders to increase the use of solar power.

A group of faculty members from Texas Tech University have partnered with Syndem LLC, Group NIRE and South Plains Electric Cooperative through a two-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to further develop Syndem's patented virtual synchronous machines technology to sharply increase the use of solar power.

Beibei Ren
Beibei Ren

The Texas Tech group includes Beibei Ren, an associate professor of mechanical engineering; Stephen Bayne, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Manohar Chamana, an instructor in the National Wind Institute.

"Texas Tech will lead the validation efforts of the proposed technology, including lab-scale tests, field tests and the scalability studies," Ren said. "This project will demonstrate the technology's viability and scalability. This will build up customer confidence and accelerate the commercialization of grid-forming solar inverter technology, which will enable large-scale utilization of solar power in the U.S., or even beyond, and contribute to sustainability."

Syndem's converter technology will increase the use of solar power in homes and businesses by making it easier for grid operators to integrate much larger supplies of solar power into their networks while also making solar systems more secure from cyberattacks.

"Syndem's virtual synchronous machines technology allows solar inverters to automatically sense and quickly respond to changes in electricity production and demand across the grid," Ren said. "Basically, if the energy demand is high, then power production will increase. If the grid voltage slumps, then the converter will adjust to provide voltage support. This is important, especially with large-scale utilization of solar energy. If solar energy doesn't respond to the grid properly and quickly, then grid stability will be a huge problem."

This project is expected to revolutionize the solar market and set new standards for the solar industry with advanced functions.

Read more about the project here.