As states move to increase the amount of energy derived from renewable energy sources, policymakers face the unenviable task of figuring out to upgrade electrical grids there were designed to work with large-scale power plants.

In California, the state is grappling with the challenge as hundreds of thousands of solar panel systems go online. With power flowing both to and from homes now, the amount of electricity coursing through the state’s grid is often strained, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Moreover, when clouds pass overhead, the amount of electricity generated comes to a stop, adding another layer of complexity for those tasked with monitoring the grid.

Nonetheless, the industry is working on how best to incorporate the increasing number of photovoltaic systems going online. “There are tons of researchers working on this stuff,” said Molly Sterkel, an analyst who works on ways to incorporate solar power into the electrical grid. In an effort to tackle the problem, the California Public Utilities Commission plans to spend $50 million over the next few years to research better ways to incorporate solar power into the grid.

source: getsolar