Innovation is underway in Colorado to test and refine pioneering battery storage technology that can enhance the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid, while making solar more available and sustainable for more Coloradans.
The project, recently proposed by Xcel Energy Inc. and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, is reportedly the most comprehensive, real-world study of its kind, exploring the broad capabilities battery storage systems offer and how they support solar microgrid power installations.
Pending the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s approval, the batteries will be tested on two distinct projects:
- Solar for Homes: A residential initiative in the Stapleton area of Denver featuring a large-scale network of solar power panels on area homes.
- Solar microgrid system: Being developed for commercial customers at the planned Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. near Denver International Airport.
As discussed in detail here, a microgrid is a local energy grid that can operate independently, disconnecting from the main grid when it detects a disturbance. The battery tested in this project is expected to serve as a source of backup power to keep the microgrid running reliably. In addition, this innovative battery storage system can help enhance:
- Voltage regulation that mitigates power fluctuations;
- Increased use of renewable generation by the grid that keeps energy flowing reliably and reduces system peak conditions;
- More efficient and cost-effective use of stored power, saving power when costs are low and utilizing it when costs rise, reducing wildly fluctuating energy bills.
These tests, and the technology behind them, can help drive and define a path forward in which consumers have the renewable choices they desire at the prices they want.
We are on the cusp of securing a more sustainable energy future. Innovative solutions such as these can help resolve current challenges posed by solar, and meanwhile bring a smart energy future faster to Coloradans.