When Solar+Energy Storage Makes Dollars and Sense

July 19, 2016
S&C Electric’s Troy Miller explains how solar+energy storage is generating revenue at a project S&C recently completed in Minster, Ohio.

S&C Electric’s Troy Miller explains how solar+energy storage is generating revenue at a project S&C recently completed in Minster, Ohio.

S&C generated media attention recently for its completion of one of Ohio’s largest energy-storage projects, in Minster, Ohio. I’d like to explain why this project is so important.

It would be simple to cite the fact that, for the first time, a municipal utility combined solar power with energy storage. That’s noteworthy, but the real significance that makes this project newsworthy is that revenue generation and cost savings from the project is helping offset the village of Minster’s costs. The project actually is earning returns in three meaningful ways:

• Frequency regulation: By interfacing with the PJM Frequency RegD Market in conjunction with the PureWave® SMS Control Platform, project developer Half Moon Ventures will, based on grid conditions and market pricing, earn revenue from absorbing and dispatching energy.

• Transmission and distribution deferral: The Minster Electrical Department’s use of the PureWave Storage Management System provides power-factor correction concurrent with frequency regulation services. The system eliminated a $350,000 cost to install var-compensation equipment.

• Demand response: Energy storage system software predicts when the highest two-hour peak periods occur across PJM’s entire territory, which covers 13 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 10 times per year, the energy storage system will switch from providing frequency-regulation services to demand-response services to consequently help reduce peak-load contribution charges.

By providing these means to help the village offset its costs through ongoing revenue and savings, Minster found it easier to financially justify bringing clean, renewable energy to its residents and businesses. That’s a major hurdle for municipal utilities evaluating the return on investment from energy storage projects, and it’s one that should provide some peace of mind for more municipalities considering their own similar green initiatives.

Troy Miller is S&C Electric’s director of grid solutions. This blog originated on S&C’s blog, GridTalk.

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