Arizona’s largest utility, APS, recently began installing 4 megawatts of commercial-sized lithium-ion batteries—2 MWs each. The energy storage systems will serve customers in the utility’s Solar Partner Program (SPP) and to study the impact of an energy storage system on feeder lines with a lot of solar power.
The AES Advancion energy storage systems are being installed in Surprise and Buckeye. The two areas have a high penetration of solar power and together have 120 customers that opted into APS’ SPP. Through SPP, the utility is studying the how to best integrate smart inverters and energy storage.
“The customer of the future’s home will be powered by resources that are cleaner and smarter,” said Scott Bordenkircher, APS’s director of technology innovation. “Using initiatives such as the Solar Partner Program, we are studying how best to deploy advanced technology to better integrate clean energy while maintaining reliability and cost effectiveness for our customers.”
Through SPP the utility has installed solar power on the homes of more than 1,500 customers—roughly 10 MWs of solar—at no cost to them and they will receive a $30 monthly bill credit for the next 20 years for their participation.
The information APS gains from the study will it help craft the future of renewable energy integration. “The best renewable energy is the type a customer never thinks about. A light goes on, a load of towels gets washed and life goes on as reliably as ever before, all powered by the sun,” Bordenkircher said. “This is the future APS looks toward as it studies energy storage.”
The new batteries from AES will help provide energy to its SPP customers in the area when electric demand is highest and is most expensive.
The utility anticipated that customer’s electric needs will increase 25 percent by 2025 and it has plans to meet 50 percent of that demand with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Pilots like SPP and the installation of the energy storage system will help APS meet those future needs and understand how to best meet them.
“Energy storage offers Arizona Public Service a powerful, flexible tool for their network as they procure more of their energy from renewable sources,” said AES Energy Storage president John Zahurancik. “We’re pleased to partner with APS in adding Advancion to the local grid, setting up the Solar Partner Program for future growth and delivering clean, reliable and affordable electricity to their customers.”
It’s not just in Arizona that utilities are looking into how to integrate more solar and energy storage. States and utilities across the country are looking into how to accomplish this. In New York, for instance, the state and Con Edison have taken a different approach and are installing solar power and energy storage systems on more than 300 homes to study how the combined systems will impact the electric grid.Tweet