EnSync Sells Innovative Solar-Plus-Storage PPAs in Hawaii

Aug. 4, 2016
EnSync Energy Systems has sold a portfolio of power purchase agreements to AEP Onsite Partners–including three innovative solar-plus-storage PPAs.

EnSync Energy Systems has sold a portfolio of power purchase agreements to AEP Onsite Partners–including three innovative solar-plus-storage PPAs.

“These are the first solar-plus-storage PPAs in Hawaii. We believe this is a first nationally and I am confident it is the first PPA of its kind utilizing hybrid storage,” said Dan Nordloh, executive vice president, EnSync Energy Systems. The company’s ‘hybrid’ system is capable of using two different types of energy storage to optimize the use of solar and storage systems.

The solar-plus-storage systems are located at a condo development and a university.

“We signed agreements with Century West and the University of The Nations and other entities for us to deploy systems on their property and commit to selling them electricity from the systems at a certain price,” he said.

The company  signed a third agreement, the details of which haven’t yet been announced, for a multi-family housing project that uses solar-plus-storage for elevator backup power instead of a diesel generator for backup when the grid goes down, said Nordloh.

These three projects include about 1.3 MW of solar and 800 kWh of hybrid energy storage, he said.

The University of the Nations project, located on the island of Hawaii, includes a 412-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array and EnSync’s intelligent energy management platform and hybrid energy storage technology. It uses solar-plus-storage to handle a portion of the university’s electric load and lower the university’s electric costs — about $2 million over 20 years.

Solar-plus-storage PPAs resellable

In addition to the solar-plus-storage PPAs, the portfolio of contracts sold to AEP Onsite Partners is comprised of two behind-the-meter projects at condominiums or university campus buildings on Oahu and the Island of Hawaii.

“One aspect of our business model is that we we don’t want to own all PPAs indefinitely. The PPAs themselves  are sellable,” said Nordloh. The company’s goal is to create portfolios of multiple projects, then go to market and sell them, he added.

Two of the projects include EnSync’s Agile Hybrid Storage and EnSync Energy’s Matrix Energy Management systems.  The third utilizes an EnSync lithium ion battery and the company’s energy management system.

The hybrid storage system meets the needs of a broader set of applications, said Nordloh.

In energy storage, power and energy are different applications, he said.  “Most batteries can do power or energy, but not both. “Power is when you discharge a lot of kilowatts in a short time, and  lithium ion batteries are good at that. Under the ‘energy’ application, the batteries discharge fewer kilowatts in a longer period of time, he said. Flow batteries do that well. The company’s hybrid storage system includes both types of batteries.

“We filed for the patents last fall that allow us to integrate two or more types of energy storage. We deliver  power or energy, depending on the loads we are serving.”

EnSync Energy’s Matrix Energy Management platform can manage a number of different applications in ways that allow users to optimize their savings or revenues.

Optimizing to make the most money possible

“We’re serving for multiple applications: demand response, backup power, time-of-use shifting. You can save or make money behind the meter,” he said. “Conventional power controls can only do one or two applications. But the Matrix platform allows you to prioritize and optimize any of those applications to make the most money possible.

“We deliver from a high-level perspective the ability to source from renewables, storage and the conventional grid. We pull whichever makes most sense.”

The system can also deliver ‘smart exports’ to utilities, which differs from the more limited, conventional approach, according to Nordloh.

“Most companies do this generally with a conventional inverter approach,” he explained.  “An architecture has to be built, a communications scheme has to be written to control all the assets, and you have to re-jigger and re-write software when load characteristics change, or if you want to add more solar or want to add storage,” he said.

The company’s Matrix platform has drawers that slide in and out to meet the requirements of different circumstances. “There’s no reconfiguring of inverters, no re-writing of software,” said Nordloh.

The Matrix Energy Management platform is a cabinet, and the drawers can be slid into it, he explained.

“It’s super flexible and ready to change–for EV charging, add a drawer; for more storage, a drawer.”

Systems like these, he added, are what will allow for the proliferation of distributed energy resources.

Holu Energy, a subsidiary of EnSync Energy Systems, develops the company’s projects in the Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam and Samoa.

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About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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