PHILADELPHIA -- A battery that helps improve the quality and reliability of the electric grid was officially brought online this week at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The battery uses a special control system to inject or draw energy from the grid based on a signal from a utility.
The battery is part of the new GridSTAR Smart Grid Experience Center being developed at the Navy Yard spearheaded by Penn State and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Experience Center will feature energy storage, a smart grid demonstration home, electric vehicle charging stations and an indoor-outdoor training facility, and will be used to illustrate functioning smart grid technologies for a variety of audiences.
David Riley, a faculty member in Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering and director of the GridSTAR Center, said, “Energy storage is an important part of building a more resilient and efficient electrical grid. This battery system has already helped us learn about the complexities of building and launching a grid interactive battery system. We are using the lessons to inform new courses and training programs about the development of a smart grid.”
Solar Grid Storage played a critical role in the project and will help to manage the new system in a way that demonstrates the economic viability of energy storage systems.
“We are proud to have helped bring the first commercially developed energy storage system online in the region,” stated Philadelphia native Don Bradley, founder and senior vice president of Solar-Grid-Storage. “We were able to use the GridSTAR project to inform several other projects in which energy storage and solar technology will be combined to create viable renewable energy projects.”
One such project based in Laurel, Md., brought online Oct. 15, features 400kW of solar energy and a 500 kWh battery system.
The specific role of the GridSTAR battery will initially be to help maintain the frequency of AC power on the grid. In the future the device could be used to help smooth out solar photovoltaic energy produced at the Navy Yard and also to reduce peak demand energy costs.
"The GridSTAR Center is a model for what the grid of the future will look like," said Tom Leyden, CEO of Solar Grid Storage.
"GridSTAR's new microgrid combines clean and renewable solar power with energy storage enabling a series of new benefits including emergency backup power, peak demand reduction and power balancing on the grid," explained Leyden. "Simply put, solar plus storage will ensure a more stable, resilient and smarter grid."
On Wednesday, Oct. 30 the GridSTAR Smart Grid Experience Center will host an Open House event. The site will be open to those interested in learning more about the facility's role in accelerating Smart Grid technologies in our region. For more information and to register please visit: https://gridstarcenter.eventbrite.com.