r&D big ideas in solar
Princeton Power’s demand-response inverter
(DRI) is one of a wave of coming advanced-grid
technologies that promise to make photovoltaics
interchangeable with conventional sources.
by GINA R. JOHNSON
Barely out of college and running an engineering startup in the early 2000s, Darren Hammell and his cofounders at New Jersey-based Princeton Power Systems had a vision for making intermittent renewable energy systems more valuable to utilities and their customers. They would integrate the high-power electrical circuit technology they
had used to bring power conversion to naval ships into a low-cost, turn-
key demand-response inverter (DRI) system incorporating
energy storage and load control. No longer would commercial-scale
photovoltaic (PV) and wind systems require extensive engineering and
expense to deliver utilities predictable, controllable power. But Princeton
Power would need serious capital to develop a prototype and the
materials that would help reduce the system’s cost and size — an
enterprise unlikely to attract investors. That’s where the brainchild of
Gina R. Johnson is the editor/associate publisher at SOLAR TODAY. Access princetonpower.com and www1.eere.energy.
gov/solar/ segis.html for more information about Princeton Power and the DOE’s SEGIS program.
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Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
Sandia National Laboratories’ Ward Bower came in.