Solect Energy launches commercial energy storage division

NEC Storage systems

Solect Energy, one of Massachusetts’ top commercial-scale solar developers with over 400 installed projects, is now launching an energy storage division. In launching the new division, Solect has signed an agreement with NEC Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, to sell NEC’s DSS (Distributed Storage Solution) product line for commercial customers. NEC is one of the world’s leading energy storage solutions providers with more than 250 MW (megawatts) of projects installed or currently under construction.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our collaboration with NEC and the opportunity to bring tremendous additional value to both our existing and new customers,” said Ken Driscoll, CEO of Solect Energy. “We are at the doorstep of the energy storage boom and Solect is extremely well positioned to bring these new solutions to our commercial customers, saving them money and building resiliency.”

Since Massachusetts has some of the highest demand charges in the US, accounting for up to 70% of a commercial customer’s electricity bill, both Solect and NEC anticipate that Massachusetts will be one of the next major markets to see commercial-scale energy storage rapidly grow the way it has in California. Demand charges are based on a customer’s monthly peak load and, according to Solect’s market analysis, up to 70,000 commercial customers in Massachusetts currently pay high enough rates to economically justify installing a storage system to even out their energy load profile and lower their demand charges. When paired with solar, the economics are even better due to tax advantages and other ways to monetize the benefits of both systems working together.

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“As Massachusetts’ leading commercial-scale solar energy provider, we are delighted to be working with Solect as a Qualified DSS Partner. There’s no doubt they are well positioned to become one of the leaders in the solar+storage market here in the Commonwealth,” said Steve Fludder, NEC Energy Solutions CEO. “Over the next few years, we expect energy storage to rapidly expand in Massachusetts as commercial customers look for additional ways to cut costs, reduce emissions and enhance resiliency. We look forward to working with the Solect team to capitalize on that growth.”

As a Qualified DSS Partner for NEC, Solect will act as a reseller and independent contractor, installing, operating and maintaining DSS energy storage units. The DSS platform is scalable from 85 kWh to 510 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

Arizona Public Services territory sees a bunch of Phazr MicroStorage installs to shave peak demand charges

JLM Energy Phazr MicroStorage

JLM Energy’s Phazr MicroStorage mounts easily on solar racking and plugs into the microinverter and solar panel with MC4 connectors, virtually eliminating design and installation costs. Phazr comes in 7 sizes to pair directly with the solar panel wattage. Two Phazr’s can go behind each panel for up to 5 hours energy storage. Phazr has no single point of failure and provides the lowest total cost of ownership for energy storage on the market today. Works for Residential & Commercial applications. (PRNewsfoto/JLM Energy)

JLM Energy has installed and commissioned more than a dozen residential Phazr MicroStorage plus solar projects in locations throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area in both Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS) territories.

In SRP territory, customers can avoid peak demand charges by using energy storage to shave peaks when demand spikes. Demand charges are calculated on the most intense 30-minute period of energy use during the monthly billing cycle. In APS territory, the challenge is time-of-use charges. APS charges more for energy used during peak hours of the late afternoon and evening, when people are at home relying on the grid. These customers use energy storage for what is called, “consumer self-supply.”

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No matter what the strategy, JLM Energy’s software Measurz optimizes and controls when the solar energy should go into the batteries, directly into the home for immediate use, or back to the grid for net metering credit. The algorithms in the software are set to make the best deal for the customer based on their energy use profile and utility tariff structure. The user-friendly interface makes it easy for customers to track their energy use, savings and expenditures with second-by-second data.

“We are extremely pleased that Phazr is performing well in Phoenix,” said Farid Dibachi, CEO and Founder of JLM Energy. “Phazr optimizes solar production by discharging power at the most valuable time. Not only can customers save money, they can protect their investment with the ability to adjust to any future rate change the utility makes.”

“We are absolutely focused on the satisfaction of our early customers and ensuring that they have a positive customer experience with JLM,” said Dibachi.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

SMA’s utility-scale storage inverters now all UL-listed

SMA utility solar

SMA just announced two new power classes for its utility-scale storage product portfolio. Now available, the Sunny Central Storage 2750-EV-US for 1,500 V projects has achieved UL 62109 listing, and the Sunny Central Storage 2475-US for 1,000 V projects has achieved UL 1741 listing. Other products in the line-up, including the Sunny Central Storage 2200-US and the 2500-EV-US, achieved UL listing earlier this year.

“With a complete utility-scale storage product portfolio, SMA can create customized storage solutions to meet the challenges of individual projects, using advanced technology and a full power class lineup for 1,000 V and 1,500 V applications,” said Volker Wachenfeld, executive vice president of SMA’s Off-grid and Storage Business Unit. “As storage becomes increasingly important in today’s energy market, we are committed to offering the most advanced technology to our customers.”

The Sunny Central Storage inverter is the central component of SMA’s solution for integration of large-scale battery storage systems into the utility grid while ensuring maximum grid stability.

Sunny Central Storage inverters are compatible with different types of battery technologies, including those from all leading manufacturers. The inverter offers comprehensive grid management services such as automatic frequency control and ramp-rate control. The battery inverter is optimized for continuous operation at nominal load and temperatures of -25˚ C to +50˚ C and is also available as a medium-voltage block solution from SMA.

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— Solar Builder magazine

New York’s Sunrise Solar Solutions starts to install sonnenBatterie with solar systems

sonnenBatterie-eco

Sunrise Solar Solutions LLC, the largest locally owned and operated solar installation company in New York’s Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, unveiled the  sonnenBatterie battery back-up solar power system at last weekend’s Fall Westchester Home Show in White Plains, N.Y. To ensure power reliability and cost efficiency — the battery features a unique power detection system that will sense outages in real-time and will automatically switch over to battery power.

The sonnenBatterie is available as a separate purchase. However, Sunrise has also created a more cost-efficient option with its special value-added offer that combines a complete solar system installation-and-battery package – including a 30 percent federal tax credit.

According to reports, the majority of home and business owners experience anxiety related to losing power, especially as it affects their ability to perform daily household and business tasks. Many say that portable generators are not reliable enough to alleviate their worries as they often break down, and require gasoline to run. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, studies found that 30-50% of people who survived suffered from PTSD. After Hurricane Sandy, more than 20% of residents reported PTSD, 33% reported depression and 46% reported anxiety, according to Fortune Magazine.

The sonnenBatterie is a 24/7 home energy storage solution that uses intelligent software to manage the energy needs of your home, every minute of every day, season after season. Practically speaking, this means that you’re not only covered throughout the day, but then able to use your solar power at night too. And should a power outage occur, sonnenBatterie has the capacity to keep you humming along even during extended grid failures. The program is user-friendly and even features a downloadable sonnenApp where you can check your energy usage and production anytime and from anywhere. You can, therefore, monitor, analyze and take control from your smartphone or tablet as much or as little as you like.

Primer for buying, installing residential solar+storage systems

Says Sunrise president and CEO Douglas Hertz: “We have customers that have been asking and asking for the power assurance of a battery, and here we are! We’re really excited to be able to offer this now, and especially with such great savings included with the federal tax credit.”

He added, “In addition to eliminating worries about getting caught in the dark or shivering in the cold, adding battery backup to solar installations is an important step to increasing grid resiliency and furthering the move towards clean energy.”

— Solar Builder magazine

On the Scene: We went to the Eaton Experience Center to see the grid’s future

Eaton Xperience center

Eaton is one of those companies that does everything without you realizing it, with innovations for industries as diverse as aviation, data centers, food and beverage, rail and, of course, utilities, just to name a few. The company recently expanded its Experience Center in Pittsburgh to show the latest advances in electrical power quality, energy management and safety in a real-world, hands-on setting for interested customers, electrical contractors, consultants and builders in need of training.

In other words, it is a playground for engineers. Everything around the building, except maybe the coffee maker, is labeled, which isn’t just useful for novices like me.

eaton experience center“We’ve had engineers come in here and we’ve asked them to identify a transformer, and they couldn’t do it. They could easily point to the symbol on a design, but they don’t always see them in real life,” noted Dan Carnovale, Power Systems Experience Center manager for Eaton, which again shows the practicality and importance of the Experience Center.

The Solar Builder team stopped by to take it all in, and believe me, it was a lot to take in. Full disclosure: I was showed a lot of stuff and took a lot of notes as fast as I could. That notepad contains in-depth info on super capacitors that aid in solar smoothing, substation vs. pad-mounted transformers, balancing voltage regulation on a larger scale, aggregating string inverters in larger applications and more. The formula for cold fusion might be in there somewhere, but we will never know because they are illegible and incoherent. But that’s OK because the Experience Center isn’t about relaying those details, it’s about the experience, duh.

chris crowell at eatonExperiencing the Experience

The facility includes a functioning microgrid demonstration. There is a 24-kW solar canopy in the parking lot, 86 panels on the roof, 30 kWh in battery storage and a 100-kW generator, all of which are controlled by Eaton’s Power Xpert Energy Optimizer controller. The intersection of all those assets and optimizing their usage is at the core of advancing energy resiliency, so that Eaton’s Experience Center can operate even when the local utility grid may be impacted by an outage.

The standout display plays out two fault scenarios on a small grid that involves three local controllers and one master controller: You enter into an artificial neighborhood, complete with fake squirrels in fake trees. Suddenly, the room gets dark, a thunder rumble is heard and lightning strikes a tree that topples into an electric pole.

Scenario one plays out with no automation. The fault is triggered and the recloser fires and keeps closing, but power won’t be restored until a truck is rolled. Scenario two plays out with automation and is able to isolate the fault and restore power to the critical loads on the microgrid downstream.

Trust me, it was cool.

Animatronic show aside, it feels like we are looking at the future of the grid, not just in terms of the technology, but the mindset needed for deploying and managing distributed energy resources in ways that are much more efficient and economical than how things are done today.

— Solar Builder magazine