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Solon has partnered with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) at the University of Arizona for the development of an energy storage management research and testing (SMRT) site. Together, the three organizations will study the reliability and applicability of combining different energy storage technologies with PV onto the grid.
Plans to install the SMRT site next to the 1.6MW solar plant Solon previously built, which is owned by TEP, at the University’s Science and Technology Park are under way with a focus on allowing the project to add and replace technologies as advancements arise. Solon will design, install and oversee the control system project in four phases.
“As we increase our reliance on intermittent solar and wind resources, grid-tied storage systems are going to become a necessary piece of maintaining reliable service for customers,” said David Hutchens, executive VP of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy. “This project will give us an opportunity to work with trusted partners to evaluate the performance of various storage technologies.”
The project’s first phase consists of the completion of compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology, which was designed and constructed by the faculty and students at the University of Arizona. Completion on the first phase is expected in August while the second phase will be completed in the fall. The second phase will address the variable weather events, such as cloud coverage, that effect a storage unit with the project installing a lithium-ion solution to keep in stride with the need for a faster response time in such variable cases. The third and fourth phases of the SMRT project will be carried out and completed through the spring of 2012. Solon will manage all of the storage systems with its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.
“By continuously innovating, Solon is committed to excelling as a photovoltaic system solution provider for utilities,” said Dan Alcombright, president and CEO of Solon. “Storage for renewable energy is essential for utilities as they increase clean energy generation into their grids. By testing different types of storage methods and technologies under various environmental conditions, our garnered intelligence will enable us to provide utilities with highly accurate guidance on the right storage solution for them, as well as provide completely integrated PV systems with storage.”