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American-Made Solar Team’s Solid-State Transformer Wins Grand Prize

Oct. 27, 2020

American Made Solar Prize logo

As part of the American-Made Solar Prize competition, researchers with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Integrated Devices and Systems group have been providing technical support and expertise to one of the competing teams, Resilient Power Systems. A leading provider of innovative energy solutions to electric utilities and their customers, Resilient Power Systems has been developing a solid state transformer (SST) that allows the independent regulation of solar, battery, load, and grid sources—and the team is one of two winners for the Round 2 grand prize.

SSTs are critical to meeting modern energy systems’ objectives and needs through their easy integration with distributed energy resources and implementation of microgrids. With the latest winnings of $500,000 and an additional $75,000 voucher for NREL support, the team is working to further optimize the technology’s performance and cost efficiency.

Photo of the solid state transformer that won grand prize at the American-Made Solar Prize competition.
Resilient Power Systems' solid state transformer (SST) is one of two technologies that have won the Round 2 grand prize in the American-Made Solar Prize competition. Photo courtesy of Resilient Power Systems

“In addition to easy integration, SSTs offer grid services such as additional inertia, fault isolation, power factor improvement, and voltage regulation,” said Toby Meyers, NREL researcher and technical lead on the project. Meyers is helping the Resilient Power Systems team by analyzing and reducing the cost of the SSTs they produce.

The American-Made Solar Prize is a competition from the U.S. Department of Energy that is designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing. Through a series of three contests, innovators work to transform big ideas into concepts and then prototypes for industry testing.

As a message to others competing in the final round, Resilient Power Systems CEO Tom Keister encouraged other teams to "pursue as many pilots and partnerships as possible,” and “the business success will be a great reward in and of itself."

Through the American-Made Network, the world's best-in-class national laboratory research base is combined with an unparalleled entrepreneurial support system consisting of pioneering fabrication facilities, energy incubators, and other valuable resources.

Learn more about NREL’s work in integrated devices and systems.