Energy Storage Projects Like This Unlock True Potential of Solar, Lockheed Martin Says

by | Mar 26, 2018

Communities served by Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) in southeastern North Carolina will begin to see cost savings as Lockheed Martin’s GridStar Lithium energy storage systems begin to provide clean energy “exactly when we need it,” says Don Hughes, CEO and general manager of Brunswick EMC. This avoids peaking costs and allows the utility to pass the savings to its members, he says. Energy storage projects like this “unlock the true potential of renewable energy generation,” Lockheed Martin says.

Lockheed Martin and Cypress Creek Renewables have commissioned 12 MWh of GridStar Lithium energy storage systems for 12 solar-plus-storage projects. The energy storage systems are compact, easy to install, and scalable for 100kW to multi-MW projects, according to Lockheed Martin. GridStar system architecture consists of modular, purpose-built energy storage units that contain batteries, local controls software and all required balance-of-system components. The systems are certified to UL 9540 standards, a key certification for product safety for energy storage systems and equipment, the company s

These 12 solar-plus-storage projects represent the first set of battery storage projects developed, constructed, financed and commissioned by Cypress Creek Renewables, a national provider of local solar. Cypress Creek acquired the projects from United Renewable Energy (URE), the initial developer of the project.

Energy storage is a key to unlocking the true potential of renewable energy generation, according to Lockheed Martin. “Dynamic” solar products that can easily respond to changing conditions on the grid or in energy markets make for a more reliable and cost-effective system, and are becoming more common, says Brian Knowles, Cypress Creek Renewables’ director of energy storage. “We are approaching a point where many newly originated solar projects will become solar-plus-storage by default,” he predicts.

Substantial Storage Projects

In Arizona, for example, First Solar will build and operate a 50 MW solar-fueled battery, making Arizona home to one of the largest battery storage systems in the country. Working with Arizona Public Service (APS), the project models “how the future of solar and storage can work together to deliver power to customers during peak hours,” the companies say. The facility includes a 65-MW solar field to charge the battery. By pairing clean solar energy with advanced battery technology, the companies will be able to store power when the sun is high and deliver it to customers between 3 and 8 p.m. – when the sun is on its way down but energy use is peaking. This means that APS customers will get more of their peak power from solar.

The project, announced last month, was developed in response to APS’s need for capacity resources during peak hours. APS has full use of the 50 MW battery and is able to maximize hourly capacity until it is fully discharged. The facility is set to begin service to customers in 2021 and will be built directly adjacent to the existing APS Redhawk Power Plant in western Maricopa County.

Also last month, GE and Arenko Group announced a strategic alliance to build grid scale energy storage systems in the UK.

The companies will use GE’s battery technology solution, power electronics and advanced controls in combination with Arenko’s leadership in operating batteries in the UK market and proprietary energy trading software platform.

Arenko has invested in a 41 MW battery energy storage system supplied by GE, who is providing a fully integrated battery storage solution. The project is one of the largest in the UK and globally with the ability to provide affordable, on-demand power to the equivalent of approximately 100,000 UK homes, the companies say.

Pictured: Cypress Creek solar plus storage installation

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