"In January 2019, three 5KW Sonnen Batteries were adquired for the Irish Street Community Centre's offices. Two months later, a 12 kW Solar PV battery storage was installed in the roof and, afterwards, the 'Fit and tell study' commenced to track the performance", explains SMARCTIC project partner and Derry City and Strabane District Council Energy Manager Leo Strawbridge.
It's all about reducing energy consumption. Leo mentions that the ‘Sonnen batteries’ are an intelligent storage system that adjusts the energy usage. Asking him about the improvements sought since the batteries were installed, he highlights that the expected generation output from the PV Panels is 10,044 KWh as opposed to 13,600 KWh consumption. "Carbon emissions will be reduced by 5.05 tones per year with the introduction of renewable measures", continues the Energy Manager. The expected payback for the Battery Storage and PV System has been forecast at 14 years. Nevertheless, the increased optimisation of energy redistribution could reduce the payback term.
"The SMARCTIC project takes a new innovative approach to reducing energy usage in the Northern Periphery and Arctic area and this Smart Grid & Battery Storage System in Derry City is a very good example as a successful use case", highlights SMARCTIC Project Manager Juanita Blue.
The energy team at DCSDC is continuously tracking and comparing data. "The PV panel generated 1,237 KWh and exported 878 KWh to the grid at 5.5 pence per KWh – 72.5% exported. Furthermore, based on the consumption of 339 KWh, the centre imported 67 KWh at 10.5p per Kwh – 20% imported", continues Leo. The price of importing compared to exporting is 90% more expensive. On top of that, based on the energy distribution patterns, the data needs to be interrogated on a monthly basis for electricity consumption, PV generation, exports and imports to calculate an optimum balance. "In essence a model needs to be created whereby the centre is not importing electricity from the grid in the summer months when there is excess electrical renewable generation".
Smart meters: short term options in relation to the excess energy created
In case that an excess of energy is created through these intelligent energy efficiency resources, this could be used at another council asset, such as a nearby Leisure Centre. According to Leo Strawbridge, it is anticipated that variable daily electricity pricing will be introduced within Northern Ireland and Battery Capacitance offers considerable benefits to exploit negative pricing within the market. These benefits include peak shaving and load shifting.
In reference to the next steps that need to be taken, DCSDC will measure total electrical energy consumption for this use case, measure the battery performance and PV performance, interrogate the energy data for the use case to create a demand side response model with optimum energy redistribution. Apart from that, they will create an Application Programming Interface (API) that will allow the present use case dashboard to be integrated into the SMARCTIC's SEMM Smart dashboard in which the two applications can continuously exchange and display data, via graphic user interfaces.