AHDB News Autumn 2017

-69 ;/, /69;0*<3;<9(3 05+<:;9@ GrowSave News Is battery technology the next big opportunity to make use of existing horticultural grid connections and support growers’ energy cost? Jon Swain from FEC Energy recently visited a pioneering WYVQLJ[ PU :VTLYZL[ [V ÄUK V\[ Consisting of a set of seven white boxes Ä]L IH[[LYPLZ HU PU]LY[LY HUK H JVU[YVS IV_ PU HU \UHZZ\TPUN JVYULY VM H ÄLSK in Somerset, you could be forgiven for thinking that the battery installation is part of the equipment for the nearby solar PV array; however, the Tesla logo gives it away. The installation is, in fact, a 250kVA and 500kWh Tesla battery that was installed in September 2016 to help support the grid in its requirements for good power quality. +\IILK -YLX\LUJ` 9LZWVUZL :\WWVY[ the battery responds in real time to Å\J[\H[PVUZ MYVT HU PKLHS NYPK MYLX\LUJ` of 50Hz, either by charging or discharging to bring it back into line. For doing this, the grid operator pays a service charge to the owner of the installation. This particular system is not set up to make more energy available from the on-site solar PV array, nor to make better use of cheaper time of day electricity for the owner’s own consumption, although these are options being considered by many growers and could soon be worthwhile. The truth is that, currently, the cost of this technology is prohibitive to doing only this, called price arbitrage, and that the grid operator’s support contracts are what truly ensure a return on investment. Grid support services such as these are increasing in deployment, although larger in scale. There are several conceptually similar battery installations (some up to 140 times bigger than this) which responded to a call for installations in 2016. Very little space is taken up by the batteries and their controls. In fact, the biggest limitation to deployment of this technology is the availability of H NYPK JVUULJ[PVU Z\ɉJPLU[ [V PTWVY[ and export power at the capacity of the Z`Z[LT ;OL [LJOUVSVN` P[ZLSM PZ 3P 0VU IH[[LYPLZ ZPTPSHY [V ^OH[ `V\ ^V\SK ÄUK in your mobile phone – just lots of them. The unassuming nature of this technology doesn’t end there: the system is incredibly quiet. Barring a cooling fan, which cuts in and out on demand, the installation made no noise at all. They can be built into an enclosure if required, as Tesla insists that the batteries are available only in white! Coming to a corner of a ƬHOG QHDU \RX" Autumn 2017 Jon Swain