Solar Energy Storage: Page 14 of 14

Emerging Technologies, Markets and Applications

You recently met with utility representatives in Hawaii to discuss the impact of high DG penetration. Can you share any insight from these meetings?

It’s clear that the Hawaiian utilities want to solve this problem. More than any other region, they are buffeted by variability, due to their island grid, changes in solar insolation and wind, and exposure to diesel-fuel price volatility. There is a great opportunity to learn from the developments happening in Germany, California and Hawaii, share lessons, and explore opportunities to increase renewables, as well as provide greater reliability by incorporating solutions that reduce variability on the grid.

Sau Ngosi, PE

Director of off-grid engineering, Schneider Electric Solar Business,

Joe Vosburgh

Director of marketing and product management for utility-scale inverters, Schneider Electric Solar Business

What products does Schneider Electric currently offer for utility-interactive solar storage systems?

SN: Schneider offers the Conext XW platform of inverter/chargers and charge controllers for PV-hybrid storage systems. System capacities are scalable from 4.5 kW to 36 KW and well suited for both residential and commercial applications.

Does Schneider Electric have plans to develop high-capacity power conditioning equipment for large commercial and utility-scale solar storage applications in the US?

JV: Yes. Schneider Electric is focused on delivering a complete solution that enables the utility customer to employ MW-scale energy storage in support of a full range of DG and advanced grid services applications.

Do you have any insights on the status of solar energy storage in Germany? What is driving the deployment of solar storage there?

SN: Germany’s grid storage subsidy is a drop in the ocean compared to its now scaled-down FIT [feed-in tariff] incentive scheme. Uptake has been modest at best, with about 1,720 applications for funding by the end of 2013. The biggest perceived obstacle to adoption is how the program is structured to require an interface for external system access for grid operators to affect grid loading and unloading functions. According to PV Magazine, installers are reporting that up to 75% of consumers installing battery-based systems are opting out of the subsidy due to their objections to the requirement for external control. This is a potential barrier to increased deployment.

How will California’s Assembly Bill 2514 impact the deployment of solar storage systems in the state?

SN: Though AB 2514 has set the stage to bootstrap what could be the addition of significant storage-based capacity to the Californian grid, the three targeted investor-owned utilities [IOUs] are still in the process of working out implementation interconnection requirements specific to energy storage systems to allow connection to the grid. The CPUC regulates these policies with each respective IOU, and once they are in place, there should be significant uptake in deployment of storage systems for the IOUs to meet procurement targets set forth in the bill.

What are some recent developments in solar storage in locations with high DG penetration, such asr Hawaii?

JV: Hawaii is actively exploring and piloting MW-scale energy storage applied specifically to frequency regulation and renewables integration. They have a very unique challenge with respect to a range of island grids and a very high penetration of renewables. Therefore, they are one of the jurisdictions in the US that stands to gain the most benefit from the implementation of MW-scale energy storage for not only frequency regulation, but also load management, voltage support, reactive power support, power ramping and voltage, and frequency ride-through.

What markets and applications currently provide an optimal value proposition for PV systems with integrated storage?

JV: Frequency regulation combined with renewables smoothing and shifting will dominate the early storage deployment landscape and currently offers the most demonstrable value proposition. This is largely due to a range of recent FERC orders that monetize—or define an asset class and market for—energy storage systems for use in these applications. As penetration and deployment for these core applications occurs, and as price per kWh continues to come down for advanced battery technologies, and cyclic life and reliability continue to improve, applications will expand to include peak-load management and advanced ancillary services.


Joe Schwartz / SolarPro magazine / Ashland, OR /


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