First solar municipal storage system in the UK

11/5/18, 6:50 AM -

The first solar municipal battery storage system project in the UK has been installed in the county of West Sussex.

Temperature-controlled containers protect the Tesvolt battery storage systems from the effects of weather.
Temperature-controlled containers protect the Tesvolt battery storage systems from the effects of weather.

The solar farm has a 7.4-megawatt (MW) output and stabilizes the power grid together with a 4.4-MW lithium storage system from German manufacturer Tesvolt. Thanks to the high-voltage storage system, the local government earns additional money with grid services. Thus, the system runs completely free of subsidies. It was commissioned mid of October at a 35-hectare former landfill site in Westhampnett and the test runs have finished successfully. The project will bring in considerable income for the local government over the next 25 years.

Storage system service life for a long-term rate of return

Louise Goldsmith, county council Leader, said: “I am delighted to see the completion of Westhampnett solar farm. Living in the sunniest county, it makes absolute sense for us to use our natural resources and to generate clean energy that can be fed in to the local electricity grid. As one of the first solar farms to be built with battery storage and free from government subsidy, we are blazing a trail among local authorities and demonstrating that councils have a role to play as local leaders on energy.”

“Public bodies don’t think in financial quarters like other investors. A storage system with a service life of 30 calendar years, as ours has, is ideal to meet the requirements for a solution which serves tax payers in the long term,” says Christian Went, Key Account Manager at Tesvolt responsible for the project. Intelligent control of every single battery cell ensures the long service life of the storage system. This allows for optimal charging and discharging of the cells and for the prevention of errors or damage to the cells due to unequal states of charge.

7.4-megawatt solar power plant in Westhampnett, UK.

Economic business model

The power generated at the solar farm will be sold on the electricity wholesale market. The batteries will generate additional income from price arbitrage, frequency services and triad management/ capacity market income.

For this to work, it is critical that energy be quickly provided by the storage system. For its storage systems, Tesvolt uses the same prismatic battery cells manufactured by Samsung SDI which are used for electric cars. The cells’ special design and chemical composition enable a high charging rate of 1C.

“The demand for effective battery storage systems is currently high in the UK. This will continue to be a topic of interest in the coming years for companies and municipalities which can be remunerated for grid services,” says Kevin Keiley, Director at Arun Construction Services. The EPC was responsible for the planning and installation of the system. (HCN)

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