EnSync, J. Walter Cameron Center sell 20-year solar-plus-storage PPA

Ensync energy systems

EnSync announced the sale of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) it arranged on behalf of J. Walter Cameron Center (JWCC) to an undisclosed investor. The PPA will bring the nonprofit incubator space nearly half a million dollars in savings during the terms of the agreement.

EnSync Energy’s project engineers consulted with JWCC to size the non-exporting system to meet the center’s current operational needs while allowing room for expansion. The resulting solar plus storage project encompasses a 148-kW photovoltaic (PV) installation and EnSync Energy’s DER SuperModule—244 kWh of energy storage supported by EnSync Energy’s Matrix Energy Management System and DER Flex technologies. The alternating current, PV-only system directly serves the buildings’ loads, and a direct current system connected to the SuperModule stores energy for off-peak solar hours and for demand charge mitigation.

JWCC provides over 43,000 square feet of office space across six individual buildings to 16 resident agencies, including The American Cancer Society – Hawaii Pacific, The American Red Cross and The Maui Chamber of Commerce. The center also provides program space and support resources to over 250 community groups that together serve 30,000 Mauiresidents. Beyond cost reductions from the lower PPA rate, JWCC will benefit from demand charge mitigation services, which will decrease the center’s utility bills by relying on energy storage to manage high demand charges.
Construction will commence in the coming months.

— Solar Builder magazine

Florida Power and Light debuts solar-plus-storage strategy at a major power plant

Florida Power & Light Co. unveiled a new solar-plus-storage system last week that they say will be the first in the country to fully integrate battery technology with a major solar power plant in a way that increases the plant’s overall energy output. By incorporating this new technology into the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, a solar power plant that was built in 2016, FPL expects to increase the amount of solar energy that the plant can deliver to the electric grid by more than half a million kilowatt-hours a year.

Florida Power Light Wildflower Commissioning Battery Storage

DeSoto County Commission Chairman Jim Selph (left), Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) President and CEO Eric Silagy and DeSoto County Commissioner Terry Hill discuss the company’s new battery storage technology at the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County, Fla., Feb. 9, 2018. During the commissioning of the company’s third and newest solar power plant in DeSoto County – FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center – the company unveiled what is believed to be the country’s first-of-its-kind solar-plus-battery storage system that increases the amount of energy a solar plant delivers to the grid. Photo credit: Alex Menendez for FPL. (PRNewsfoto/Florida Power & Light Company)

The new system features a 4,000-kilowatt/16,000-kilowatt-hour storage capacity comprised of multiple batteries integrated into the operations of the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center. In addition to enabling the plant to provide more solar energy to the grid, the battery system is capable of storing the energy and dispatching it to the grid at a later time.

This technology has the potential to harness millions of kilowatt-hours of solar energy a year that would normally be lost and improve the predictability of solar energy, which naturally fluctuates with the sun’s availability. Increased predictability enables FPL to more efficiently dispatch other power plants, helping save customers on fuel costs.

How the new system works

The new solar-plus-storage system unveiled today is the first large-scale application of “DC-coupled” batteries at a solar power plant in the U.S.  An advantage of DC-coupled batteries is the ability to harness extra energy that a solar plant generates when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

During these optimal operating periods, a solar plant may generate more power than its inverters can process, resulting in some energy inevitably being lost – or “clipped” by the inverter. Unlike other batteries, a DC-coupled system can capture this extra clipped energy, thereby increasing the amount of energy the plant delivers to the grid.

The additional solar energy and the increased predictability afforded by battery storage can enable FPL to more efficiently dispatch other power plants, helping save customers on fuel costs.

For several years, FPL and other NextEra Energy companies have been researching and testing battery-storage technologies to study a variety of potential benefits ranging from grid stabilization to improved solar integration. Currently, NextEra Energy companies operate approximately 130 megawatts of batteries with more than 100 megawatt-hours of storage capacity.

RELATED: Why mass customization works in utility scale solar solutions 

FPL’s solar plans

FPL is in the midst of one of the largest solar expansions ever in the eastern U.S. with more than 520 megawatts – 3.5 million new solar panels – added in the last two years alone and nearly 300 megawatts more scheduled to enter service by March 1. From 2016 to 2023, FPL expects to install a total of more than 10 million solar panels. These advancements continue to improve FPL’s carbon emissions profile, which is already approximately 30 percent cleaner than the U.S. industry average.

Moreover, FPL’s eight newest solar plants combined are projected to generate more than $100 million in net savings, over and above the cost of construction, for FPL customers. Investments like these help FPL keep rates low for customers over the long term. Today, FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is lower than it was more than 10 years ago and approximately 25 percent lower than the latest U.S. average. (FPL rates are decreasing again on March 1.)

FPL is the largest generator of solar energy in Florida with 10 major solar power plants and numerous other universal solar installations, totaling more than 635 megawatts of capacity, including:

  • FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam counties
  • FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
  • FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
  • FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, Desoto County
  • FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, Charlotte County
  • FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
  • FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center, Manatee County
  • FPL Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center (hybrid solar/natural gas), Martin County
  • FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County
  • FPL Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
  • FPL Solar Circuit at Daytona International Speedway, Volusia County
  • Solar research installation at Florida International University, Miami-Dade County
  • Numerous FPL SolarNow arrays in local communities

Also, four more new solar power plants are on track to enter service by March 1, 2018:

  • FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
  • FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
  • FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County
  • FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County

— Solar Builder magazine

Florida mulls bill to advance more solar plus storage, improve grid resiliency

Florida solar storage bill

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar are supporting HB 1133, filed in the Florida Legislature this week, that would demonstrate solar and energy storage’s ability to maintain grid resilience during natural disasters and states of emergency.

The bill establishes a pilot program in the Florida Keys to install on-site solar generation and energy storage to provide electricity to critical facilities during grid outages or failures, like the recent Hurricane Irma.

“As we’ve recently experienced first-hand with Hurricane Irma, there’s nothing more crucial in the wake of a disaster than power. Onsite solar energy storage systems are a forward-thinking solution to improving the security of energy supply at critical local facilities,” said Florida State Representative Holly Raschein, who is HB 1133’s main sponsor. “Given that Florida is the Sunshine State, it only makes sense to tap into this resource when planning for stronger communities that are more resilient in recovering from a disaster.”

The pilot program will measure the benefits of resilience assistance to support the energy needs of critical facilities, such as emergency shelters, hospitals and health facilities, airports, and emergency response units, like police and fire departments. Solar and energy storage can immediately offset these facilities’ power needs, provide backup energy during a grid outage, and store energy isolated from the utility’s electrical system for emergencies. They also eliminate the need for back-up diesel generators.

“This is a crucial step in preparing Florida for future emergencies and we thank Rep. Holly Raschein for her leadership,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Making sure our first responders and critical facilities have the power they need to deliver life-saving services during emergencies should be a top priority for any state, and solar plus storage is the easiest and most effective solution. This pilot program will demonstrate the effectiveness of solar and storage in maintaining grid resilience and help lawmakers implement this strategy on a larger scale.”

“Solar energy is already becoming a huge success story in Florida, and the excitement around new battery technology has been growing since it proved itself in the days after Irma, keeping lights and refrigerators on for families when the power grid was down for days,” said Scott Thomasson, Southeast Director of Vote Solar. “Scaling solar and energy storage as a strategic backup resource during disasters could have a real impact on people’s lives and security.”

The solar industry urges the Florida Legislature to pass this bill, implementing the pilot programs and corresponding Florida Solar Energy Center study measuring the benefits of the program.

— Solar Builder magazine

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.

New guide shows strategies for pairing community solar with storage

“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

New Jersey water treatment plant now prepped with on-site solar-plus-storage microgrid

EOS energy storage

A 250-kW, 1 MWh Eos Aurora DC battery system was commissioned at the wastewater treatment plant in the Borough of Caldwell, NJ. The batteries are a central component of Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s (PSE&G’s) on-site solar-plus-storage microgrid that will help keep the facility operating during extended power outages. The Caldwell microgrid is part of the New Jersey utility’s Solar 4 All program.

The microgrid includes an Eos Energy Storage system and an 896 kW-DC solar PV system designed and installed by Advanced Solar Products of Flemington, NJ. Siemens Energy Management integrated the Eos Aurora system, solar facility, and existing diesel generator, using the Eos Znyth battery technology as the backbone of the microgrid to reinforce emergency resiliency for this piece of critical municipal infrastructure. Siemens also provided the intelligent control technology to monitor, manage and distribute power across the system.

The solar and battery storage systems are connected directly to PSE&G’s electric grid. Under normal conditions, the solar panels deliver power to the grid and the battery storage system can provide value-added grid services for integrating solar onto the grid and participating in ancillary markets.

The Caldwell wastewater treatment plant microgrid is part of a 3 MW-DC portion of the Solar 4 All program. The initiative develops projects that integrate solar with other technologies to reduce the impact of solar on the grid or to demonstrate reliability and grid resiliency of solar for critical facilities during prolonged power outages. The solar installation, combined with Eos’ long-duration energy storage, significantly extends backup power capacity and emergency operation of critical water treatment capabilities.

EOS energy storage

“One of the goals of our Solar 4 All program is to help support the growth and development of solar and related industries in New Jersey,” said Todd Hranicka, director – solar energy at PSE&G. “So we were especially happy to include the battery technology from a fellow New Jersey company like Eos into a project that helps make our electric system and a piece of critical infrastructure more reliable and resilient.”

Construction of the solar-plus-storage system at the Caldwell wastewater treatment plant was a joint effort between Advanced Solar Products, Eos, and Siemens Energy Management. The Eos Aurora battery system was selected on the basis of its multi-hour duration and the benefits of its simple, sustainable and inherently stable zinc hybrid cathode design.

— Solar Builder magazine