Somerset project demonstrates integration of energy storage with solar PV

The new grid storage system will be installed alongside a British Solar Renewables Ltd (BSR) solar park south of Glastonbury, in Somerset.

On 7 January Renewable Energy Systems announced its first UK contract to build and support a battery energy storage system (BESS). This contract is said to be one of the first energy storage projects in the UK to be delivered under a fully-wrapped Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract.
RES, a global renewable energy firm headquartered in the UK, has signed the EPC contract with Western Power Distribution (WPD) for a project which will demonstrate nine different applications of energy storage on the grid. It will be installed alongside a British Solar Renewables Ltd (BSR) solar park south of Glastonbury, in Somerset.

What’s being installed?
The centre-piece of the WPD initiative is the 300kVA/640kWh battery energy storage system being installed by RES, who will provide ongoing warranty support during the battery’s operation. RES will utilise RESolve, its energy storage control and dispatch system to provide 24/7 management of the battery’s operation. The BESS will be supplied by BYD and will be fully self-contained including hundreds of individual battery cells, power conversion equipment and safety and monitoring systems.
Gordon MacDougall, RES’ managing director for Western Europe, said: “This project marks an important milestone for RES, as we are bringing the energy storage expertise we’ve developed in North America to the UK for the very first time. Our experience of delivering almost 80MW of energy storage globally has given us the ability to provide proven and reliable energy storage solutions, and we are confident that this project will open the door for other opportunities in the UK.”

Ancillary services first
The system will be embedded at a 1.5MW solar park at Copley Wood near Butleigh, Somerset, and connected to WPD’s South West 11kV network. The project is the first of its kind to explore the provision of ancillary services to a distribution network operator (DNO) from an embedded battery energy storage system. The project is being delivered through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, and is being run in conjunction with BSR and the National Solar Centre.
The project is part of a major initiative being run by WPD, the electricity distributor for the Midlands, the South West and South Wales, to investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of battery energy storage combined within distributed generation (DG) installations in the UK. Using energy storage in this way offers huge potential to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of grid operations without the need for public or Government subsidy. It also has the potential to improve access to the grid to the low carbon technologies that will play an essential role in the UK’s transition to a low carbon future at least cost to consumers.
Gordon MacDougall added: “RES is delighted to work with WPD, BSR and the National Solar Centre on this important project to demonstrate the value of battery energy storage to both solar developers and distribution network operators.”
WPD’s Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, Jenny Woodruff, said: “Finding an economical way to store renewable energy will offer huge benefits to network operators and potentially enable more requests to install renewable energy generation connections to the distribution network. Through a series of trials, this project aims to identify to how the benefits of storage can be shared by all stakeholders in a way that does not cause conflicts.”