NEC completes energy storage system for Michigan’s Consumers Energy

NEC Energy Solutions

NEC Energy Solutions completed an energy storage system for Consumers Energy, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., which includes two independent 280 kW/340 kWh DSS energy storage systems and NEC’s proprietary AEROS controls software. The energy storage system will enable Consumers Energy to investigate how energy storage can be used to avoid further system upgrades, smooth renewable energy production and support load/energy management. The storage system has been designed with the flexibility to increase the energy capacity to 1 MWh or more.

The NEC energy storage system is located within Circuit West, a 13-block district on Grand Rapids’ west side where Consumers Energy is installing innovative electricity generation and distribution in a neighborhood with new, energy-efficient building construction.

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“Today, there is very little storage on the grid, so electricity is generated just moments before you use it,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations. “With large batteries like NEC’s energy storage solution, we will make our grid more efficient, effective and sustainable. It’s a critical part of Michigan’s energy future and it’s happening here at Circuit West.”

“As the market for energy storage continues to grow, more customers are entering the market to test the viability of energy storage in their own applications. We know the many benefits of energy storage having been in the business for more than 12 years but it’s also common for customers new to storage to initially take a pilot approach,” said Steve Fludder, CEO for NEC Energy Solutions. “We are happy to be working with Consumers Energy on test projects like this and we anticipate this will lead to greater deployment of valuable storage across their service territory.”

The DSS platform is scalable from 85 kWh to 600 kWh of energy storage capacity and offers from 100 kW up to 710 kW of power capability. As a standardized, UL safety-certified, AC-ready system including power conversion system, the DSS product is preconfigured in outdoor-rated enclosures, compliant with all relevant regulatory and environmental requirements and is backed by up to a 10 year product warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

Michigan’s first commercial-scale solar + storage system up and running via Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy

Michigan’s first ever rooftop solar array and battery storage system debuted last week in the growing area of Grand Rapids. Nearly 1,800 solar panels atop the Bridge Street Market and adjoining buildings between Bridge and First Streets within the Circuit West district are accompanied nearby by a 500-kilowatt battery.

“Today, there is very little storage on the grid, so electricity is generated just moments before you use it,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations. “With large batteries, we will make our grid more efficient, effective and sustainable. It’s a critical part of Michigan’s energy future and it’s happening here at Circuit West.”

Circuit West is a 13-block district of innovative electricity generation, distribution and storage and energy efficient building construction. Circuit West is led by Consumers Energy and Rockford Construction.

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“With this first-of-its-kind solar, battery storage system, West Michigan is leading the way to our clean energy future,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Projects like Circuit West will ensure more families and businesses have greener and more reliable energy.”

Stabenow was joined by leaders from Consumers Energy, Rockford Construction and the City of Grand Rapids to announce the electric distribution and storage system today at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, 614 First Street NW, one of the many new buildings springing up within Circuit West.

“This rooftop solar array can power up to 100 homes and is part of Consumers Energy’s commitment to increasing our use of renewable energy to 40 percent and ending our use of coal to generate electricity,” Rochow said. “Our Circuit West work is putting into action our triple bottom line of People, the Planet and Prosperity.”

The Circuit West battery, which goes into commercial operation in a few weeks, joins a 1-megawatt battery installed last fall at the company’s Parkview Substation on Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo campus. Rochow said Consumers Energy is studying each battery’s performance to determine how to best use and integrate the technology across the electric distribution grid.

Consumers Energy earlier announced it will construct a new Grand Rapids office building within Circuit West. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Eguana Technologies’ commercial energy storage system can now perform value stacking in real-time

Intelligent Energy Management System

Eguana Technologies upgraded its Elevate energy storage system for C&I applications with Pason Power’s Intelligent Energy Management System (iEMS), which will combine machine-learning with real-time and historical data to optimize the the system’s value streams.

“With the integration of Pason Power’s Intelligent EMS into our Elevate products we now offer our Commercial and Industrial (C&I) storage customers a powerful way to perform financial modeling based on actual equipment performance,” said Brent Harris, CTO of Eguana Technologies Inc. “The computational complexity required to gain meaningful insight into the storage system is far beyond what humans can do, and we are very excited to bring machine learning from Pason Power to our customers.”

What can EMS do?

Pason Power’s Intelligent EMS incorporates Internet of Things sensor data, weather metrics, energy market changes, load and generation data, and related information streams and factors these into its optimization algorithms to make actionable recommendations and predictions about when and how to leverage energy storage. Anyone evaluating Eguana storage systems can easily model their storage needs with Pason Power’s Storage Architect, a tool that allows customers to deploy solar and energy storage with confidence. Storage Architect significantly reduces the risks to asset owners, installers, and financiers of over- or under-building storage systems because it leverages the same data backbone used by production systems.

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“Machine learning is ideally suited to perform energy storage value stacking in real-time, and with this integration, Eguana customers can go from pencil-out to power-on very quickly,” said Enrico Ladendorf, managing director of Pason Power. “Intelligent EMS users reap the benefits of complex computational analysis without the need for a data scientist. Storage developers and solar installers can be confident that storage system data modeled by our products accurately represent how their Eguana systems will perform in the field.”

The Elevate energy storage system can be deployed in small commercial and industrial applications. A standard unit contains 15 kW of power and up to 39 kWh of storage within the size of a standard shipping pallet, and multiple units can operate in parallel, providing design flexibility for a range of project sizes. The factory integrated power control system from Pason Power and lithium-ion batteries from LG Chem provide reliability through automated protection and recovery as well as long-term performance with minimal service requirements.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunSpec Alliance partners with 7 test labs to certify products for its solar, storage communication standards

sunspec alliance laboratories

SunSpec Alliance, the information standards and certification organization for the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) industry, announced the first SunSpec Authorized Test Laboratory (ATL) partners to provide SunSpec Certified testing services to a global roster of SunSpec Alliance member companies. SunSpec Authorized Test Laboratories represent a foundational service for inverter and other component manufacturers to demonstrate readiness to meet the communications requirements of California Rule 21. They provide testing services, with the SunSpec engineering team responsible for validating results and issuing certification marks.

“Communication-oriented markets leverage certification programs to foster growth, increase stakeholder confidence and lower total system costs. The SunSpec Certified program employs best practices proven by other industries,” said Tom Tansy, Chairman of the SunSpec Alliance. “SunSpec Authorized Test Laboratories provide impartiality and broad market availability of test services for dominant DER communication standards.”

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The SunSpec Certified program culminates 10 years of developing de facto standards that enable solar PV and energy storage systems to interoperate transparently with system components, software applications, financial systems and the smart grid. The program provides DER interoperability, data communications and cybersecurity functionality standards, aligned with international and national protocols, to accelerate industry growth, lower costs and enhance customer confidence.

SunSpec Certified Authorized Test Laboratories announced to date include:
PCTEST Engineering Laboratory Inc.
CSA Group
TUV Rheinland of North America

Initial DER communication compliance programs addressed by SunSpec ATLs include Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standard (IEEE) 2030.5 / Common Smart Inverter Profile (CSIP), the default communication standard for California Rule 2, and SunSpec Communication Signal for Rapid Shutdown, a de facto standard to achieve compliance with the PV hazard control requirements of the 2017 National Electrical Code.

SunSpec recently upgraded its SunSpec Certified program to fulfill its responsibilities as the compliance authority for California Rule 21 communication requirements (SunSpec test criteria is specifically referenced in CA Rule 21) and to realize the success of the SunSpec Communication Signal for Rapid Shutdown standard, which has been adopted by more than 50 semiconductor, PV module and inverter manufacturers.

— Solar Builder magazine

IREC recognizes these four states for their clean energy policy decisions in 2018

solar state report card

After a colossal year of energy policy activity across the states, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) calls out some favorite 2018 success stories in its 2019 Clean Energy States Honor Roll, announced today. IREC is a 37-year-old national independent not-for-profit organization that works state by state to increase consumer access to clean renewable energy through fact-based policy leadership, quality workforce development and consumer empowerment.

Most Growth Potential

New Jersey. For creating a community solar pilot program and establishing one of the most aggressive energy storage goals in the country.

New Jersey has a long history of clean energy friendly policies, but the past few years saw a lag in progress, until recently. New Jersey is now poised to be a national leader for both community solar and energy storage development. A newly adopted community solar pilot program incorporates many established program best practices, as articulated in IREC’s Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs and National Shared Renewables Scorecard, and will expand access to all customers, including those with low and moderate incomes. The state’s new energy storage goal of 600 megawatts of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 megawatts by 2030 sets a high bar for energy deployment, putting New Jersey alongside other leading states with energy storage targets, such as California, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon.

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Emerging Clean Energy Leader

Michigan. For tackling several core issues integral to realizing the potential of clean distributed energy resources (DERs), such as customer-sited solar, energy storage and wind.

Michigan is quickly emerging as a proactive leader on clean energy issues, as the state addresses several foundational regulatory policies impacting the deployment of clean energy on the grid, namely: interconnection rules, grid modernization and integrated distribution system planning. Tackling these core policies in anticipation of future growth sets a smooth glidepath for the state’s clean energy market to thrive, while also improving the customer experience and reducing costly and time-consuming processes for customers, developers and utilities alike. In addition, these regulatory efforts will help ensure the four cities in Michigan with established 100% renewable energy goals can accomplish these ambitious goals more affordably and efficiently (which benefits all Michiganders).

Most Charged for Storage

Nevada. For being among the first states in the country to formally address connecting distributed energy storage systems to the electric grid.

New regulations explicitly allow for and clarify how distributed energy storage systems will connect to the grid via updated interconnection standards. As DER penetrations grow and new technologies become available, these updated interconnection procedures (which align with IREC’s recommended practices) ensure more efficient and affordable deployment of clean DERs on the grid. In addition, Nevada joined the ranks of the few other states requiring utilities to proactively consider ways to optimize the benefits of DERs on the grid through a more comprehensive distribution system planning process.

Most Improved Transparency

South Carolina. For taking actions to improve utility transparency and reporting, which benefits both customers and developers.

South Carolina has seen considerable clean energy growth over the past few years due to favorable solar policies, but some of its recent growth has stalled due to interconnection backlogs. A November 2018 action by the state’s public service commission requires additional utility reporting measures aimed at improving transparency. This was an important step toward reducing the considerable delays in the interconnection queue in the state, while also preserving a positive path forward for future growth of customer-driven investments in clean energy technologies.

— Solar Builder magazine