Outstanding projects: The winners of The smarter E AWARD 2018
The smarter E AWARD celebrates 2018 its premiere. The jury was called to rate from dozens of submissions. In the "Outstanding Projects", the focus was on the integration or substitution of existing energy markets. Photovoltaics is often combined with storage technologies to ensure the availability and stability of renewable energy. This creates opportunities that can help to significantly improve people's lives, generate new business models or give a decisive impetus to existing enterprises. In the “Smart Renewable Energy” category, there was a strong trend towards sector coupling, this is the linking of electricity, heat and mobility. Here, the electrification of the heat and mobility sectors is clearly the driving factor.
Bach Khoa Investment Development of Solar Energy Corporation (SolarBK):
Solar Experience Space – the combination of leisure, learning and research
“Small changes make big differences,” and this company philosophy comes to life at The Solar Experience Space at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology in Vietnam, with around 24,000 students. A zero-energy building, this community project is an educational space for young people, especially students, to learn about clean energy. The Solar Experience Space combines leisure, learning, and research with a small café integrated in the building. It is the first of its kind in Vietnam, showcasing products, technologies and solutions by Vietnamese scientists and engineers. Installed technology includes integrated photovoltaic and solar thermal solutions and heat pumps, and, soon, advanced batteries and desalination systems. The goal is to develop a department of clean energy at the university.
The jury was impressed by the lighthouse implications of this future-oriented community project that translates and transports clean energy technology into society, particularly to young people. Its integrated approach makes it especially relevant for the next generation of engineers and solar professionals in a region with a high potential for PV deployment. It actively demonstrates what can be achieved with PV technology in Vietnamese homes and businesses, and by the solar engineers of the future. It’s an affordable, replicable solution with high visibility and economic viability, as well as important social and scientific impact.
First Solar: Important role of PV plants in stabilizing the grid
First Solar developed and built a 300 MW PV utility-scale plant in California, USA. The extensive testing and analysis carried out at the plant proved that solar plants at this scale can provide reliability and valuable grid services. Field data demonstrate that the solar plant can react very quickly to grid signals regarding frequency, and more accurately than conventional generation such as thermal, hydro or gas turbines – and can be tightly regulated. The reliability services demonstrations included spinning reserves, load following, voltage support, ramping, frequency response, variability smoothing, frequency regulation, and improved power quality.
“Proof of concept” and “a game-changer for large-scale solar plants” were the reactions of the jury to this outstanding undertaking. Solar power plants can not only reduce the need for carbon-emitting resources, but can also improve system performance, and operate with significantly higher levels of variable generation. The results of this project can be used as door openers to convince stakeholders that utility-scale solar can contribute to the reliability and stability of the grid and provide essential grid services, that are today often associated with conventional generation in terms of their provision of spinning reserve. The project is not only a solar generation asset on the grid but is also able to serve as a valuable demonstration project for the role PV power plants can play in stabilizing the grid.
Unlimited Energy Australia / Tesvolt: Off-grid Avocado farm in Australia
Together, Unlimited Energy Australia and Tesvolt completed an off-grid 53 kW photovoltaic installation in Australia that combines 160 kWh salt-water batteries and 48 kWh lithium storage. The free-standing system can power an Australian avocado farm on 100% renewable energy within a microgrid. The energy generated from the high irradiance in the region – some 300 days of sunshine per year – has eliminated reliance on diesel generators or on the ‘skinny’ electricity network in regional and rural Western Australia.
The jury honors this pioneering solution as a demonstration of the seamless integration of two different battery technologies, resulting in a positive economic and environmental impact. Especially, the mix of lithium-ion, and non-toxic, environmentally-friendly salt-water batteries is unique.
The combination of these technologies in this pilot project is helping renewables gain traction in the region and among farmers and is a landmark installation that also attracts “energy independence tourists,” who help spread the word. Economic benefits are high, since expensive grid maintenance and operation in sparsely populated regions of Western Australia are no longer necessary. (HCN)
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