PetersenDean now offering solar + storage solution via SolarEdge, LG Chem

PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, the nation’s largest privately held solar and roofing company, has joined forces with SolarEdge and LG Chem to offer homeowners an affordable path to solar ownership and energy storage. SolarEdge will supply an intelligent inverter solution to manage PV production, consumption and both on-grid and backup storage to help increase energy independence for PetersenDean’s residential installations. LG Chem will provide the Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU) 10H 9.8 kWh battery pack, which is compatible with SolarEdge and uses the same technology that has been used in other LG Chem applications.

Petersen Dean

 

“Technology has significantly evolved over the years—especially with batteries and inverters. PetersenDean is proud to offer these two well-trusted brands to customers,” said Jim Petersen, president and CEO of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar. “Both of these companies’ commitment to technology, coupled with efficient and high-quality manufacturing processes produces solutions that exhibit the highest levels of safety, performance, and reliability.”

Providing PetersenDean customers with intelligently managed energy storage from reliable companies, this solution helps meet an important goal for PetersenDean, which installs about 2,000 solar and roof systems each month nationally.

“During the last few years, our customers have been asking us for better home energy storage solutions. While some systems only function when the grid goes down, others only work to help limit grid use in moments when their solar system is not producing the amount of energy needed to power their home. By combining SolarEdge’s StorEdge solution with LG Chem batteries, customers can enjoy both options by managing and monitoring PV and battery status through a single platform. It provides the peace of mind that when the grid goes down, they’ll still have power backup,” said Petersen.

Petersen added that customers will save substantially in the long term. “Storage systems such as this help customers improve their system payback by increasing the amount of PV energy they consume. They can store excess solar and draw from it when needed. This avoids unnecessary fees and taxes, while giving them the flexibility in an ever-changing utility landscape.”

LG Chem is the global leader in lithium-ion batteries with a market-leading position in advanced batteries for grid-scale, residential storage and automotive applications. Its lithium ion battery technology is the product of 23 years of experience in the development and production of mobile batteries and large format batteries for automotive and energy storage systems. For residential storage applications, LG Chem is using the same technology that has been used in its utility-scale projects.

Linh Tran, Sales Manager of LG Chem, said, “With the growth and advancement of residential storage batteries, we are pleased to team up with a leading installer, PetersenDean, specializing in new residential and commercial construction in the US market.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

This California bill expands access to solar energy generated by already-developed sites

california energy storage

The California Legislature is being commended again for its support of solar energy, passing a bill last week to make it easier for businesses, schools, nonprofits and municipalities to access solar. In turn, this will help generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars of investment in the state.

“California has long been our nation’s leader in solar energy, but many of its businesses and schools face practical barriers to adopting solar,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “This bill provides an innovative, yet commonsense solution that will unlock access to local clean energy for these organizations, while creating thousands of jobs in California. We thank Sen. Wiener for his leadership in advancing California’s solar economy.”

The bill would require the PUC …

to require each large electrical corporation to establish a tariff or tariffs that provide for bill credits for electricity generated by eligible renewable generating facilities and exported to the electrical grid to be credited to electrical accounts of nonresidential customers of the corporations. The bill would require the commission to ensure that the credit reflects the full value of the electricity from the eligible renewable generating facilities and the credit is established using the same methodology that as used to determined credits under the standard contract or tariff for eligible customer-generators.

The legislation expands access to offsite solar projects for non-residential customers, by allowing them to partner with already-developed sites – such as parking lots, warehouses, brownfields and landfills – and use those sites for solar energy that the local community can access. The bill, SB 1399, was authored by California Sen. Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County.

“To meet our aggressive renewable energy goals, California needs to dramatically expand solar, including maximizing use of our empty rooftops and other developed spaces that are ripe for solar,” said Senator Wiener. “However, these locations sometimes have no need for solar power and therefore sit unused, while other energy customers want to access renewable energy but have no space to install solar. SB 1399 brings these two groups together – supply and demand – to drive an increase in solar installations in urbanized areas throughout California. SB 1399 will spur the generation of more clean energy and create more good-paying solar installation jobs in communities throughout our state.”

10 predictions for community solar in 2018 via Clean Energy Collective

California has an abundance of previously developed sites — 35,000 acres in total, including 20,000 in disadvantaged communities — that could provide ideal locations for solar energy. This bill establishes a pathway for non-residential customers to take advantage of clean energy and enhance both the built environment and the local economy.

SEIA urges the California Legislature to pass this bill, and allow solar to deliver more clean, reliable, affordable power to businesses, schools, public agencies and nonprofits in the state.

— Solar Builder magazine

California’s Sunpin awarded SMART program feed-in tariff for Blandford project in Massachusetts

Sunpin logo

California-based solar developer Sunpin, has been awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) issued by Massachusetts’ SMART (Solar Massachusetts’ Renewable Target) program. A 20-year feed-in-tariff incentive contract has been awarded by WMECO (Western Massachusetts Electric) to Sunpin’s Blandford project. When it is completed, the Blandford project, sited in Western Massachusetts, will be 5 MWac. This is one of the largest that the SMART program has selected to date – Sunpin’s proposal having met the stringent requirements of the program’s requirements. It is also the largest solar project in WMECO territory.

“Sunpin began developing Massachusetts solar projects six years ago. Our plan is to continue to focus our efforts on solar development in Massachusetts, as well as the rest of the U.S., over the next few years,” said Sunpin President Tom Li. “Ultimately, by 2021, we aim to develop a portfolio of a gigawatt’s worth of solar projects in the U.S.; a significant portion of them will be located in Massachusetts.”

In total, Sunpin has over 100 MW of solar installations under development in Massachusetts. Sunpin will submit these projects in the next round of Massachusetts’ SMART incentives when they become available. Additionally, Sunpin is currently building a 96 MW solar project in Southern California, which is expected to be in commercial operation by May 2018.

Massachusetts DPU approves demand charge on residential solar customers, Vote Solar challenges

— Solar Builder magazine

Battery chemistry matters: What to know before installing solar + storage systems

battery

The days when a residential or commercial solar installer did not need to know the difference in performance between lead-acid and lithium-based batteries are over. Battery storage has emerged as an unavoidable complement to solar, slashing peak charges and outwitting utility time-of-use charge games, not to mention saving microgrids from outages.

Recommending battery chemistry to a customer is no less complicated than recommending a particular solar array solution. Depending on customer goals of low initial cost, ease of maintenance, frequency of use, depth of discharge, source of recharge energy, longevity and warranty, however, choices narrow down rapidly. Lowest life-cycle cost, or total cost of ownership calculations, performed for site-specific use, also help customers understand the variations in side-by-side options.

“There are some applications where lead-acid still presents the lowest cost of ownership, so if you are just doing peak shaving or off-grid backup, you can use lead-acid as long as your usage is tightly controlled and meets the requirements of a lead-acid system,” says Jason Zerbe, the systems marketing manager at Enersys. “In other cases the most important function of the battery is that it has 100 percent up-time. There, lithium starts to make sense because it can do more in a partial state of charge and because it is not necessary to fully recharge the battery periodically without affecting the lifetime of the battery, unlike with lead-acid.”

Historic leader: Lead-acid

Lead-acid battery solutions are far from antiquated, still capturing over a third of the global battery market. While it is true that lead-acid batteries are heavier than alternatives, charge more slowly and generate hydrogen gas as they age, lead-acid still provides a solid value at a low cost, and can disprove criticism of poor longevity in some configurations.

Deep-cycle lead-acid batteries can last as long as a solar array, with designed use. Trojan Battery recently branded a line of batteries specifically for the solar industry to prove this point. At the high end, Trojan’s Industrial grade lead-acid batteries can last up to 17 years, delivering 3,600 charge/discharge cycles at an average 50 percent depth of discharge (DOD). In comparison, Trojan’s solar absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead-acid battery lasts eight years, delivering 1,700 cycles at a 50 percent DOD.

Top 5 battery installation issues for solar installers

You need to consider how much your customer wants to participate in the storage process. Less-expensive flooded lead-acid batteries — costing from $100/kWh to $200/kWh — provide between 600 and 1,200 cycles and require water refilling maintenance, but AGM or gel chemistry lead-acid batteries, which are 20 percent more expensive, can provide about 1,700 cycles without requiring the extra maintenance, according to Erguen Oezcan, senior sales director for renewable energy at Trojan Battery.

The safety and environmental story of lead-acid is tricky. On the one hand, flooded batteries carry the extra costs of a venting system needed to draw off the hydrogen gas that is formed over time as well as a containment basin to guard against spills (a code requirement). But, on the plus-side, lead-acid batteries are 99 percent recycled — one of the most recycled products in industry today. Lithium batteries are not yet recyclable.

There are some relatively new additions to basic lead-acid chemistry to consider. Carbon-enhanced anodes limit the formation of sulfate deposits, which hamper performance and decrease battery life. Other innovations include the use of metallic agents to enhance the electrolyte, layered insulating wrappings for AGM mesh and so-called moss shields that limit internal shorts.

JLM Energy

JLM Energy recently installed more than a dozen residential Phazr MicroStorage plus solar projects in locations throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to shave peaks when demand spikes.

Up and comer: Lithium-iron phosphate

When lithium-ion batteries came into common use, they seemed destined to capture the bulk of the battery market. But high prices — which thankfully are falling rapidly — combined with fire concerns have encouraged manufacturers to experiment with a variety of other lithium chemistry variations. One that’s emerging is lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP), which exhibits fast discharge, long life and greater operating safety than other variations.

LFP is a nontoxic, thermally stable material and is much safer — from fires and explosions — than the standard cobalt-containing lithium-ion (LiCoO2) chemistry. The difference in chemistry also makes the LFP less expensive than the lithium-ion battery.

The cost of LFP batteries is down to about $400 per MWh and should drop further as more large-scale production comes onto the market. “LFP battery costs have dropped 25 to 30 percent over the last two years,” says Catherine Von Burg, the CEO of SimpliPhi.

Still, commercial and industrial customers are seeing a return on investment for LFP in four years or less, when targeting problems like peak shaving, says Von Burg. Her company routinely installs LFP battery banks on C&I rooftops.

A host of local regulations have arisen to mitigate the fire risk from lithium-ion, which adds cost to both residential and commercial applications installed indoors. This is where LFP’s chemistry can make a difference — at the point of installation completion.

LFP performance can beat lithium-ion, with LFP batteries generally providing about 2,000 charge/discharge cycles, compared to about 1,000 for lithium-ion batteries, according to one industry source.

Because of its safety, rooftop battery solution provider JLM Energy also uses LFP in its Phazr battery system, which is mounted underneath each panel in a rooftop solar array.

One forward-looking advantage of using LFP battery systems is the growth of community solar, microgrids and other aggregated forms of distributed energy resources. As utilities become more capable of interacting with these DER systems, more smart, fast battery systems will be called upon to support the grid, if not also enabling some form of private-sector energy arbitrage, suggests Von Burg.

New standards

Comparing battery lifetime has become more standardized with the advent of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) standard 61427 test, which provides performance criteria that all batteries for PV applications should be measured against. It offers a common, internationally accepted platform to compare and contrast batteries from different manufacturers.

Warranties are also widely variable, so trust in solid companies unless a reliable third-party warranty policy has been issued on the product. “There is a trend among battery companies with a limited reputation to give unbelievable warranty terms. Then the owner has to prove a lot of things to collect on the warranty, which is really tricky and in-transparent,” Oezcan says.

Battery showcase: Four solar + storage solutions for your next project

To aid in the information battle, independent energy certification body DNV GL just developed Battery XT, the first testing-based verification of battery lifetime for lithium-ion batteries. The independent verification tool compiles battery lifecycle data and predicts battery degradation under different conditions and duty cycles, providing renewables stakeholders with an objective way to compare the value and reliability of types and brands of energy storage technology as well as provide consulting on battery size and chemistry selection.

“As the storage market continues to expand, the ability to manage risk at the point of purchase is becoming increasingly important,” says Rich Barnes, executive vice president and regional manager for DNV GL Energy in North America. “Battery XT will empower stakeholders to make better purchasing decisions based on objective, third-party testing.”

This section was featured in the January/February 2018 issue of Solar Builder magazine. Sign up for a FREE subscription here.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Battery showcase: Four solar + storage solutions for your next project

Recommending a battery to a customer in a solar + storage project is no less complicated than recommending a particular solar array solution. Depending on customer goals of low initial cost, ease of maintenance, frequency of use, depth of discharge, source of recharge energy, longevity and warranty, however, choices narrow down rapidly. Lowest life-cycle cost, or total cost of ownership calculations, performed for site-specific use, also help customers understand the variations in side-by-side options. We dove into choosing among all of those options in this article. Now, here’s a roundup of four of the top solutions on the market.

1. SimpliPhi

simpliphi-battery

The SimpliPhi High-Output Battery, launched to the market in 2015, was designed to address the Marine Corps requirements for a high-output battery that could provide a sustained peak power output of 10 to 15 minutes without any risk of overheating, thermal runaway, fire or shutting down, as well as longer duration base power delivery over 20 or more hours. The battery architecture creates minimal electrical impedance, so SimpliPhi’s batteries do not have a thermal profile that requires temperature management or cooling and have never suffered dangerous thermal runaway or fires. This design allows for one unit to provide both peak and long duration power, while also being modular, scaleable, non-toxic and safe.

2. Crown Battery

crown-battery

Eco-friendly Crown1 batteries are optimized for renewable energy and the widest array of configuration options. According to the U.S. EPA, Crown1 batteries are 99 percent recyclable — more recyclable than an aluminum can or any other battery technology. Crown1 combines robotic assembly in Fremont, Ohio, with the industry’s heaviest plates and most active materials to enhance performance and lifespan. Proprietary Cast-On-Strap systems are 100x more precise than manual welding, for greater reliability and longevity. Automated testing and vision systems maximize precision, power and uniformity. Crown1 features 6-, 8- and 12-volt models with 33-390 Ah (20-hour rating) capacities.

3. U.S. Battery

US batter

U.S. Battery RE Series deep cycle batteries use the company’s exclusive XC2 formulation and Diamond Plate Technology to create highly efficient battery plates to deliver greater watt-hours per liter and watt-hours per kilogram than other flooded lead-acid battery in the market. In addition, U.S. Battery RE Series batteries reduce mossing and sulfation conditions by incorporating the company’s Defender moss shields and Outside Positive plate battery design. Defender moss shields are effective in preventing mossing shorts caused when positive active material particles dislodge from the battery plates and collect under the plate connectors. Also, unlike chemical carbon additives that are intended for use in AGM batteries, the Outside Positive (OSP) battery design mitigates the effects of positive and negative plate sulfation and further increases battery life, overall capacity and stable performance.

4. Trojan Battery

trojan battery

The Trojan Battery Solar product line features both true deep-cycle AGM and flooded batteries which are specifically designed for solar and other renewable energy applications. Trojan Solar AGM features a non-spillable, maintenance-free design which enables installers to customize the use and position of the batteries in various applications. Trojan’s Flooded Solar batteries leverage its 90 years of deep-cycle flooded technology expertise and are engineered to provide the best cycling in the industry. Both solar flooded and AGM batteries are manufactured in the U.S., and Solar AGM is certified for non-hazardous shipping per U.S. DOT/IATA regulations and tested to an eight-year design life under the IEC 61427 standard for solar batteries.

This section was featured in the January/February 2018 issue of Solar Builder magazine. Sign up for a FREE subscription here.

— Solar Builder magazine