One of the most logical pairings of the 21st century, battery storage has long been considered the solution to the intermittent nature of stand-alone PV Solar farms. However, it has also long been considered a technology of the future, not yet viable for utility scale energy storage. However, the small town of Minster, Ohio has proven that large scale solar-plus-storage facilities are in fact financially viable today.
The system, that is the first of its kind for a Municipal entity in the United States, is a whopping 3 MWac solar array connected to a 7 MW/3 MWh lithium ion energy storage system (battery storage). The project was facilitated by Half Moon Ventures, who stepped in after the Ohio SREC legislation failed to come to fruition that would have made the project possible without a power purchase agreement. However, at the referral of Half Moon, the 105 year-old international electric service known as S&C Electric stepped in to help with the engineering and electrical procurement details. The final agreement with Half Moon set the solar generated electricity price at $0.07/kWh and the electricity cost at $0.095 which was the average utility cost before the deal anyway allowing them to see vast savings in a short amount of time. Minster estimates their savings to be around $1 Million per month on a $7 Million annual budget (not too shabby).
As utility rates increase due to the volatile nature of prices for diminishing fuel supplies, micro-grids seem to be gaining more and more public attention as a possible solution to this problem. While they will likely not replace all of the utility scale generation, renewable micro-grid technologies will definitely begin to make their mark on the distribution of energy resources in this country as storage technologies continue to develop and prices for renewable and storage technologies continue to drop.
More on this deal can be found on Utility Dive's website.