Large-scale Energy Storage Systems: Scaling With Safety And Success

Utilities have a real opportunity to realise significant cost savings and benefits by scaling up their energy storage installations. Large-scale storage solutions can greatly boost grid resilience, aid the balancing of supply and demand, and solve common challenges like renewable intermittency as well as operators curtailing supply. This is partly why approximately $5.4bn of new investment was committed to energy storage projects last year.  

However, integrating any energy storage system or scaling up an existing one is no small task due to technical, logistical and regulatory challenges. For the sake of safety, utilities need to be confident that the storage system will work as intended, and be aware of any regulatory changes involving a new system. Energy storage also requires unprecedented cooperation between different systems – from generation to power supply and SCADA – in order to work properly. For a utility to expand its energy storage estate safely and successfully, it will need a strong understanding of the battery storage hardware, monitoring and control systems needed for ease of integration.

Knowledge is power

Energy storage ambitions will remain scaled down as long as utilities rely on their own skills and knowledge. Energy storage is not a new technology, but it’s still a complex space with few bankable, expert players. Regulation around energy storage is in constant flux and there is a real lack of standardisation between physical battery solutions and the software needed to run them. For many, this makes energy storage expansion a risky proposition.

It’s here where an expert energy storage system engineer can make a big difference. These organisations truly understand the energy storage space. They will know what solutions are compatible and understand how regulation will impact an ongoing storage project. This will be crucial in helping utilities avoid potential pitfalls and risks, and in creating a system that generates value and efficiencies rather than wastage and extra costs.

For example, an external expert consultant can help utilities to identify what important safety features they need to look out for when assembling and scaling a battery storage system. DC disconnect switches, AC output breakers and MV transformers all need to be carefully considered. It takes considerable knowledge and expertise to ensure safe, fast and efficient integration of all storage system components. Yet a successful integration will enable utilities to parallel multiple inverters, empowering them to scale up battery storage faster and more efficiently.

Hardware, software and service

It’s important to remember that an energy storage system isn’t static – It’s a dynamic system that needs to be changed, scaled up and down to meet the evolving demands of the utility. One minute a storage system may need to store extra power, and the next minute it could be required to divert this energy to a specific distributor or part of the grid. For this to be possible, a utility doesn’t need an energy storage system – it needs an energy storage platform.

A platform is a constant work in progress – always customisable and adaptable to your needs. With the right advanced algorithms and AI technology, it can even become self-operating and self-healing. Such a platform is easy to scale as it can respond to demands and requirements in real time and with little intervention from the utility. But facilitating this requires a careful blend of the right hardware, software and service from an expert partner.

An expert energy storage system engineer will work with you to ensure you have the platform for your specific needs – for now and into the future. The process begins with a careful audit of your project requirements and technical challenges, followed by designing a  solution that can fulfil and tackle them. Leaving the design process to the experts ensures that a stable and compatible blend of hardware and software is selected, while avoiding interoperability issues down the line. Service is the final piece of the puzzle, with the partner providing monitoring, maintenance and support over the lifetime of the project. Any future scaling requirements can also be left in their hands, leaving the customer to focus on their business.

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About Trina Storage

Trina Storage, business unit of Trina Solar, is a global energy storage system provider dedicated to transforming the way we provide energy. Our mission is to lead the renewable energy transition through cost-effective storage and to provide Solar For Everyone by expanding solar generation at scale. Building on 20+ years of solar experience, we deliver cost-effective and flexible solutions to utilities and developers around the world.​

More information at Trina Storage website.

About Trina Solar

Over 20 years Trina Solar has been evolving from a top class PV module supplier to the world’s leading PV and smart energy total solutions provider, with PV products, system solutions and smart energy. The company manufactures, sells and does research and development on PV products, EPC and O&M as well as smart micro-grid and multi-energy complementary systems and energy cloud-platform operations. Trina Solar has a presence in more than 100 countries and regions, including regional headquarters in Zurich, San Jose, Miami, Tokyo, Singapore, Dubai. The company operates eight manufacturing bases and more than 40 branches and has more than 12,000 employees worldwide.

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.

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