A new residential energy storage pilot seeks to better understand how batteries installed in homes can be used at the neighborhood level by grid operators to absorb solar power generation excesses during the day and discharge them when needed later in the day.
A partnership between battery manufacturer Moixa, electricity distributor Northern Powergrid, and the community energy company Energise Barnsley aims to put the idea to the test with a new pilot. Specifically, 40 homes will have Moixa lithium-ion batteries installed, including 20 x 2 kWh batteries and another 20 x 3 kWh batteries.
Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa, said:
“Solar homes with batteries can halve their electricity bills, and this solution will become increasingly popular as costs of storage and PV fall.
“We are working closely with Northern Powergrid and this project will deliver insights to develop incentives which we hope will allow us to roll out solar plus storage to tens of thousands of homes in their region, by creating a business case for homeowners to invest and also by increasing the number of solar connections allowed on each substation.”
These 40 batteries and homes will be linked into a Virtual Power Plant (much like what Next Kraftwerk is doing today but on a smaller scale) which the utility can then utilize to absorb power when solar production is peaking. Conversely, at night when the sun isn’t shining on all those glorious solar panels, or anytime demand exceeds production, the utility can tap into this Virtual Power Plant to supply power to the grid.
Most of the homes in the pilot already have photovoltaic (PV) solar installed (30 of the 40 homes) which will allow the pilot operators to better understand how residentially installed solar PV can play well with residentially installed lithium-ion batteries.
In this pilot, the batteries will be installed at no cost to the residents, with all funding provided by Northern Powergrid in an effort to support the masses of solar being deployed by Energise Barnsley.
Andrew Spencer, System Planning Manager for Northern Powergrid, said:
“This partnership is one of a number of ways we’re working to explore innovations that can benefit our customers and the communities we serve.
This pilot probes some of the potential solutions for problems grid operators around the world are quickly encountering as more residential PV solar is brought online and as battery prices continue to drop.
Does it make more sense to install and subsidize solar at the utility level or residential? Is storage better for the grid at the utility scale or residential, or when residential installations are pooled together into a virtual power plant?
The future for residential storage and PV solar is packed with opportunity and it’s great to see progressive utilities and energy companies working together so closely with manufacturers like Moixa on neighborhood-scale pilots like this to work out the kinks.
Images Credit: Moixa
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