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E.On and UK flow battery start-up in commercial demonstrator of solar-plus-storage

RedT's flow battery. Image: redT.
Utility E.ON and battery storage engineers redT have partnered to install a demonstration solar-plus-storage system at the HQ of warehousing and logistics firm JB Wheaton in Somerset, England.

The system, designed specifically for commercial and industrial (C&I) applications, will pair a redT Vanadium Redox Flow Battery with JB Wheaton’s 3.5MW solar system.

The 5kW, 40kWh demonstration battery will be used to “smooth out” peaks and trough of the company’s energy demand, ultimately allowing it to make best use of the electricity generated by the solar system.

E.ON is managing the trial in order to better understand ways to improve the payback for commercial solar installs and maximise on-site generation. JB Wheaton is aiming to minimise the amount of electricity it imports during peak times and also use more of its on-site generation to charge its fleet of electric vehicles overnight.

The announcement comes just a day after automotive giant Nissan announced it is to trial a UK vehicle-to-grid connectivity scheme which could pave the way for owners of its electric vehicles to connect and sell surplus energy back to the grid.

The utility is to analyse the results of the trial and examine the system’s potential to also provide ancillary support services to the national grid. Meanwhile redT will use the results of the system to refine its vanadium redox flow technology which comprises the modular energy storage product it is bringing to market.

System host 'excited to take advantage of savings and efficiencies'

The flow technology batteries redT is developing promise to offer long-duration storage without degradation and the company’s chief executive Scott McGregor, speaking to Energy-Storage.News, said that the ability to provide “stacked benefits” – using the same battery to fulfil multiple services – would increase their value proposition.

Eliano Russo, head of energy storage solutions at E.ON, said that storage promised to not only help its customers spend less, but to also improve their security of supply.

“A key issue in using renewable energy sources is that the times of peak generation don’t always match the periods of high demand… Battery storage allows businesses to play a greater role in the energy system; adding an income stream as well as avoiding higher unit costs,” he said.

Russo also revealed that the company is lining up further C&I storage trials in the UK, and wants to discuss the opportunities with further interested parties.

Mark Wheaton, director at JB Wheaton, said: “Considering the cheap supply of daytime solar power from our photovoltaic cells and the need for overnight charging of our electric vehicles, we're excited to take advantage of, and better understand, the potential savings and efficiencies of installing a redT energy storage system.

“Provision of services by utilities, in the face of global environmental concerns, is rapidly evolving so we, as both a consumer and green electricity supplier, want to evaluate the market opportunities that E.ON is actively anticipating,” he added.

E.On's other tentative, early moves into the stationary storage market have included a partnership with solar storage system maker Solarwatt to produce residential products. Also, last week the company's North America arm was awarded the right to build a 10MW storage project in Tucson, Arizona.

RedT has already shipped several 'market-seeding' units overseas from its UK base. Image: redT.

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