Energy Storage

Florida’s Lakeland Electric prepares storage pilot

Florida public power utility Lakeland Electric is preparing to launch a pilot project that will use batteries to store solar power and potentially curb peak demand and lower customer bills.

Lakeland Electric is setting up a battery storage project that consists of two 6-kilowatt inverters and lithium-ion batteries that will be able to provide 10 kW for 3.3 hours at 5 kW continuous output, according to Darrin McCorvey, Lakeland Electric’s smart grid operations manager.

“The goal is to gain a better understanding of the potential of this technology, including curbing peak demand and financial savings,” McCorvey said. “Battery storage units such as this work well when integrated with photovoltaic systems, which will charge the units during off peak times and allow them to discharge to the customer during mid- and on-peak times.”

Based on its residential demand tariff and location usage analysis, Lakeland Electric expects that the battery unit could save a customer $1,152 a year, according to McCorvey.

The batteries are set to be commissioned at a city-owned tennis facility on December 20.

California-based Sunverge Energy in late November announced that it had signed an agreement with Lakeland Electric related to the project.

The pilot project is not directly related to Lakeland Electric’s participation in the Florida Alliance for Accelerating Solar and Storage Technology Readiness, or FASSTeR project.

The FASSTeR project announced earlier this year includes the Florida Municipal Electric Association and several public power utilities, including Lakeland Electric.

The project was awarded a $1.75 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to boost solar in Florida by developing new ways to use solar with energy storage and other resources.

Under the three-year FASSTeR project, participants will conduct solar energy and power system studies and analysis while developing strategies to expand solar, energy storage and other distributed resources in the Sunshine State.

New report tallies storage growth in U.S.

Meanwhile, in a report released earlier this month, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association estimate that in the first nine months this year 150 megawatts of energy storage was installed in the United States, up from 92 MW in the same period last year. The installations this year can provide 330 megawatt-hours of continuous discharge compared with 110 MWh from the batteries that started operating in the first three quarters in 2016.

Utilities are increasingly including energy storage as part of their resource planning processes, according to the report.

Looking ahead, GTM and ESA expect about 1,000 MW of energy storage to be installed in 2019 and installations to jump to about 2,535 MW in 2022, with behind-the-meter installations making up about half the market.