One of the Nation’s Largest Battery Energy Storage Systems to be Installed at UC San Diego Microgrid

One of the largest, most environmentally friendly, battery-based energy storage systems (ESS) in the United States will be installed at the University of California, San Diego. The 2.5 megawatt (MW), 5 megawatt-hour (MWh) system — enough to power 2,500 homes — will be integrated into the university’s microgrid, which generates 92 percent of the electricity used on campus annually and is considered one of the world’s most advanced microgrids.

Energy storage is considered so important that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decided last year to establish an unprecedented energy storage target: 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of energy storage is to be procured and installed by three of the state’s investor-owned utilities by 2024. The CPUC’s mandate broke new ground by trying to establish a regulatory system in which utilities, third-party storage providers and potentially customer-owned storage assets can play an integrated role.

The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh energy storage system at UC San Diego was purchased from BYD. The energy storage system provided by the company uses lithium-ion iron-phosphate batteries that are designed to be highly reliable and environmentally friendly. According to BYD, the rechargeable batteries contain no heavy metals or toxic electrolytes and, during the manufacturing process, all caustic or harmful materials are avoided. The batteries are also considered non-explosive and fire-safe, even in direct flames.

The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh energy storage system is the latest addition to UC San Diego’s portfolio of energy storage devices. Other devices currently in place include the following with additional energy storage projects being planned as well:

  • 30 kilowatt (KW) ultra-capacitor-based energy storage system from Maxwell Technologies, Inc. The system will be combined with Soitec’s Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Technology, which is already installed on campus.
  • Second-life battery demonstration site. Although electric vehicle batteries usually only have a vehicle lifetime of 8-10 years, they still have significant capacity left for alternative uses, such as stationary energy storage.
  • 3.8 million gallon thermal energy storage. Waste heat from the plant also is used as a power source for a water chiller that fills a 4 million gallon storage tank at night with cold water. The water is used during the warmest time of day to cool campus buildings.

Once the 2.5 MW, 5 MWh advanced energy storage system is installed in spring 2015, UC San Diego will be eligible for up to $3.25 million in financial incentives through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). SGIP is a California ratepayer-funded rebate program that provides incentives for the installation of clean and efficient distributed generation technologies. The program is overseen by the CPUC, and is available to retail electric and gas customers of the four California investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, South California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The Center for Sustainable Energy is the program administrator for the SGIP for the SDG&E territory.

Source: UC San Diego 

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