Last week, just ahead of its quarterly results, SolarCity announced that it is entering the utility-scale market with solar and energy storage offerings. It also announced a new, 6 megawatt hour energy storage project with Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC). Both moves help the company, the nation’s largest rooftop solar company, expand its product offerings.
Of its new utility-scale project offerings SolarCity said its utility-scale solar power plants are an alternative to fossil fuel generators. In addition, it’s offering dispatchable utility-scale energy storage systems. The company’s energy storage systems are designed to provide electricity as needed to support and balance the grid. Both new offerings come as SolarCity is getting ready to introduce its photovoltaic panels to market.
“Utilities looking for additional generation capacity, or a solution to meet renewable portfolio standards and other environmental mandates, can leverage turn-key delivery of solar power via wholesale contracts and direct grid tied solar power systems,” the company said. “Utilizing solar energy typically costs far less than building traditional generation assets, and solar energy rates are locked in for years into the future, protecting the utility and customers from volatile fuel prices.”
Both its utility-scale project offerings and its energy storage systems are coming into play in its new project in Connecticut, which includes 13 megawatts of solar and 6 megawatt hours (1.5 megawatts) of energy storage, the company said. SolarCity partnered with Brightfields to install solar at seven sites in southern Connecticut to build out the portfolio of projects.
"The advanced solutions we're providing CMEEC today comprise the benefits of years of energy storage research and technology development," said Peter Rive, SolarCity chief technology officer.
"CMEEC's focus is on energizing customers and community prosperity, so we are excited to help create clean, reliable and locally based power resources. These systems utilize leading edge technology that is both powerful and fiscally responsible," said CMEEC CEO Drew Rankin. "With these solar and storage projects, we are pleased to join SolarCity at the forefront of energy innovation."
“The energy storage solution installed at Mountain Ash Farm represents SolarCity's first capacity services project, whereby the company will provide engineering, installation, and maintenance of a battery storage system that CMEEC can control using SolarCity's proprietary GridLogic control platform,” SolarCity said. The control platform will allow the utility to “remotely and instantaneously dispatch stored solar energy.” Such projects are still being tested throughout the U.S. and world and this represents one the larger energy storage systems installed to date.
Construction on the projects are underway. The energy storage facility is slated for completion in June and the entire portfolio of projects likely will be complete by December 2016. The projects are under 20‐year power purchase agreements.Tweet