Utility Tucson Electric Power Turns To Energy Storage
Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a utility that provides electricity to approximately 417,000 customers in southern Arizona, says it is enhancing the resiliency of the local electric grid with new large-scale energy storage facilities.
According to the utility, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources recently completed construction of a 10 MW lithium nickel-manganese-cobalt energy storage system at a TEP substation near Interstate 10 and West Grant Road. The system is now helping to maintain reliable service for customers during periods of high energy demand by supporting stable voltage.
Meanwhile, Chicago-based E.ON Climate & Renewables is building a 10 MW lithium titanate oxide storage facility and an accompanying 2 MW solar array at the UA Tech Park southeast of Tucson. Those systems are expected to be completed this spring.
The utility explains NextEra and E.ON submitted favorable bids to a 2015 request for proposals that allowed construction of both projects for less than the original estimated cost to build a single 10 MW system.
TEP says energy storage systems can boost power output levels more quickly than conventional generating resources. Energy storage systems can be used to maintain the required balance between energy demand and supply, allowing utilities like TEP to avoid the use of more expensive generating resources while expanding renewable resources. TEP adds the systems also could provide up to 5 MW of power for approximately an hour in the event of an outage.
Furthermore, the utility notes it is participating in a two-year research and development project with Chicago-based IHI Energy Storage to study how efficient use of battery energy storage systems can improve electric reliability in Arizona’s hot, dry climate. IHI constructed a 1 MW lithium-ion energy storage system at the site of TEP’s Prairie Fire Solar Array, a 5 MW system located near Interstate 10 and East Valencia Road. IHI will test its proprietary ESWare planning and control software while working with TEP to develop efficient control strategies for energy storage systems. This will give TEP opportunities to identify when and where the installation of additional energy storage systems would be most beneficial. The IHI system will be charged with energy generated by TEP’s solar array.
TEP says energy storage systems could help ensure the quality and reliability of electric service as the Arizona company and other utilities add intermittent wind and solar resources to the grid. TEP plans to add 800 MW of new renewable capacity by the end of 2030, boosting its total renewable energy portfolio to approximately 1.2 GW.
Yaskawa – Solectria Solar Unveils Rapid Shutdown Combiner
Inverter manufacturer Yaskawa – Solectria Solar has introduced its commercial rapid shutdown combiner for three-phase string inverters, offering a complete solution to NEC 2014 & 2017, Article 690.12, which requires commercial rooftop PV installations to de-energize DC conductors outside the PV array boundary.
According to the company, the commercial rapid shutdown combiner’s design integrates seamlessly with Yaskawa – Solectria Solar’s PVI 14-60TL three-phase, transformerless inverters. The technology allows operation of one or two maximum power point tracking (MPPT) zone configurations, with up to five strings per MPPT zone.
If the rapid shutdown combiner is enabled, the array automatically shuts down the system upon loss of AC power to the site, without an additional power supply, disconnect or activation switch. Together, Yaskawa – Solectria Solar’s PVI 14-60TL three-phase, transformerless inverters and commercial rapid shutdown combiner provide a fully integrated solution to achieve compliance with NEC 2014 & 2017, Article 690.12.
“With 35 states now following NEC 2014 and the rapid adoption of NEC 2017, our three-phase commercial rapid shutdown combiner is the go-to solution for commercial rooftop installations. Yaskawa – Solectria Solar provides a bankable and cost-competitive product, allowing customers to use one solution provider for all their requirements,” says Miles Russell, director of product management for Yaskawa – Solectria Solar.
Vaisala Launches SP-12 Solar Weather Station
Vaisala, an environmental and industrial measurement company, has officially announced the availability of a ready-to-install solar weather station that the company claims provides all of the instrumentation required by solar project developers, operators and their engineering teams for best-practice resource assessment and monitoring.
As the global solar sector matures and seeks to increase cost-competitiveness, Vaisala says developers, operators and an evolving investor base are placing growing scrutiny on energy uncertainty to appropriately manage project risk. For prospective and operational solar sites, adding reliable ground-based measurements to the long-term records provided by weather models is essential for making bankable production estimates and operational decisions that impact project revenue, the company adds.
The SP-12 Solar Weather Station, available in multiple configurations, measures a range of environmental parameters that affect solar project performance. The station, mounted on a two-meter tower and booms, combines Kipp & Zonen pyranometers with Vaisala’s WXT536 multi-weather sensor, capable of measuring wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, humidity, pressure, and rainfall. An integrated thermistor assesses panel temperature for determining thermal losses. These measurements are collected and relayed by Vaisala’s Nomad 3 Data Logger, a device that provides real-time remote access to site data by means of Vaisala’s SkyServe Web platform, FTP and SCADA integration.
SolarWorld Doubles Workmanship Warranty On Panels
Module manufacturer SolarWorld has doubled the duration of its workmanship warranty on its entire portfolio of solar panel products to 20 years. With the improvement in consumer protection, the company says it is among the first major producers of solar panels featuring the PERC (passivated emitter rear contact) solar cell architecture to offer a product warranty of that length.
The extended product warranty, which protects owners of SolarWorld solar panels against defects attributable to production flaws, applies to all solar modules shipped after Jan. 1, 2017.
The extension comes on the 20th anniversary year of SolarWorld’s 1997 establishment of its 25-year performance guarantee, which declined from 90% of nameplate power to 80% at 10 years. In 2009, the company was among the first to offer a 25-year linear guarantee, which provided better protection because the percentage of output protection declines by no more than 0.7 percentage points each year after the first year. In 2013, SolarWorld’s Sunmodule Protect solar panel, which features glass on the front and back, was introduced with a 30-year linear guarantee, with annual degradation of no more than 0.35 percentage points.