RES project to demonstrate solar-plus-storage business case for UK

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A UK electricity distribution network operator has signed a contract with Renewable Energy Systems (RES) to deliver an energy storage system co-located with large-scale solar, which will be used to develop ways to commercialise services to the grid.

Announced on Thursday, a 300kVA/640kWh battery storage system will be installed at a 1.5MW solar farm site in the west of England near Glastonbury, site of the famous annual rock music festival. The solar farm is on the 11kV network of Western Power Distribution (WPD), one of the UK’s distribution network operators (DNOs) charged with maintaining stability and security of electrical grid infrastructure.

Although headquartered in Britain, RES has over 77MW/47MWh of operational or construction phase energy storage projects in the US and Canada in addition to 10,000MW of renewable energy projects constructed worldwide including large-scale solar and wind.

RES’ UK energy storage manager John Prendergast told Energy Storage News in an interview that the trial could be notable for a number of reasons. It is thought to be the most ambitious project yet in the UK to demonstrate the network services solar-plus-storage can provide behind-the-meter to the owner and operator of the solar farm, which in this case is British Solar Renewables, and to DNOs. The project will be able to provide nine different network services and how to commercialise them.

“The project will do multiple applications, extracting the value of solar in multiple different ways. The control system delivering that is our own in-house REsolve control system,” Prendergast said.

“Behind the meter, the first benefit to the developer is selling power at higher prices by shifting it to times of day when it is valued more highly in the wholesale market. The will become especially important as high solar production in the middle of the day depresses prices.”

On the other side of the meter, as has been stated before by commentators and experts including Rocky Mountain Institute, storage can provide “stacked”, or multiple, benefits. Prendergast said that the project will aim to show how commercial mechanisms could be developed for DNOs to procure grid services from storage, which at present in the UK and many other territories is so new a concept that it has not been put into the regulatory frameworks of energy markets.

For the full version of this story visit Energy Storage News (formerly PV Tech Storage), Solar Media's dedicated energy storage website.

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