A pioneering project that features a 250kW solar PV array coupled with a 90kW/1MWh Vanadium Redox Flow Battery at The Olde House farm and holiday retreat, in Cornwall, is fully operational and connected to the grid – as part of the Centrica Local Energy Market Project.
This is the largest flow battery storage commercial system deployed and operating in the UK to date. Centrica Business Solutions' partnership with flow battery storage technology company redT energy is enabling the hybrid renewable system, installed at The Olde House, to be used as a flexible platform.
This is dramatically increasing solar utilisation and lowering energy costs during peak evening times when there is high electricity demand from visitors. The system has successfully reduced peak time grid imports by up to 50%, which has translated into big cost savings for the customer.
Rewarding smarter energy decisions
The Olde House was exporting excess solar energy in the day, and importing expensive energy from the grid during peak evening times when holiday makers returned from the beach.
Centrica’s Local Energy Market (LEM) trial helped fund and oversee the installation of six storage machines at The Olde House in North Cornwall. The energy storage machines shift excess solar energy to times when it is needed onsite, and the units are connected to Centrica’s new LEM software platform to trade balancing services to the Cornwall grid. The pioneering storage flow technology is the largest commercial operating system deployed in the UK to date.
The 1MWh energy storage machines are connected to The Olde House’s 250-kilowatt solar array, which provides power to the site. The solar panels also power an onsite electric vehicle charging station, as well as 30 holiday cottages.
The engagement with The Olde House is part of a £19m trial that is testing the role of flexible power generation and storage in up to 150 homes and businesses county-wide. The trial aims to support the future development of renewables in the region by reducing grid constraints through flexible demand, generation and storage.
Shaun Hawkey, of The Olde House, said:
"The Olde House will significantly improve utilisation of onsite solar PV and save up to 50% on peak price energy imports. Thanks to the new energy storage machines, which store solar energy from the day for use at night during peak times, it has eliminated the need for expensive grid imports. Through tracking and dynamic response to calls from grid operators for flexible services, The Olde House can also generate revenue.
"Overall, it represents a huge step toward energy independence for The Olde House. We generate large amounts of electricity throughout the day, but unfortunately cannot utilise it all. With the installation of these energy storage machines, we will be able to store the energy until times when we have a higher demand."
redT energy storage machines offer:
- A 25-plus year asset that’s safe and modular
- 100% depth of discharge
- Long duration storage, with rapid response capabilities
- Very low maintenance requirements
- Ability to operate at temperatures up to 55°C
The Cornwall Local Energy Market is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Structural and investment Funds Programme 2014-2020.