The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) is testing a 200 kilowatt battery with a 100 kilowatt solar array thanks to a $1 million grant from Duke Energy Florida. The project will dive into the data to determine the effectiveness of the system.
Already the university has installed 100 kilowatts of solar panels (318 panels, to be exact) for the system on top of a parking garage. The power they produce is used by the garage for lights, elevators and electric-vehicle charging stations. The excess energy produced by the array will be stored in the 200 kilowatt battery system or put onto the electric grid for immediate use.
Using battery systems like this will help utilities better understand how energy storage with solar and wind can and will affect the electric grid. For instance, they could in the future, use such technology to divert energy to hospitals or other places that most require electricity during an emergency, but thus far large battery storage facilities are few and far between.
"This partnership gives Duke Energy and the University of South Florida additional firsthand experience in solar battery storage systems," said Alex Glenn, state president, Duke Energy Florida. “The…research also provides students a real-world learning environment as we develop alternative energy solutions for our customers." As part of the grant, Duke Energy and the university will collect data on the energy storage system—which will be displayed on kiosks around campus, as well—to see how the energy storage system works.
The university already has two smaller energy storage systems though the Duke Energy Florida's SEEDS (Sustainable Electrical Energy Delivery Systems) project. The new systems will also allow the company and the university to see how the systems work together.
"This is an opportunity to manage energy costs, while promoting sustainability on campus," said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. "We are pleased and proud to have been awarded this grant, and to provide faculty and students with a chance to help build something of lasting impact.”
Duke Energy Florida has been active in testing battery storage technologies tied to solar arrays. The company said it’s installed 25-kilowatt battery backup systems for solar arrays at 24 K-12 schools in its service area. It’s parent company Duke Energy has also deployed a 36 megawatt battery storage system at a wind farm in Texas through a $22 million grant that it matched from the U.S. Department of Energy.Tweet