Tucson, Ariz., July 8, 2011 — Solon Corp. will partner with Tucson Electric Power and the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) at the University of Arizona to design and construct an Energy Storage Management Research and Testing site.
The purpose of the site is to research the reliability and applicability of integrating different energy storage technologies with photovoltaics onto the grid, and ultimately to provide utilities greater control of their renewable portfolios.
The SMRT site will be attached to a 1.6 MW solar plant recently built by Solon, owned by TEP, and located at the University of Arizona's Science and Technology Park. The project is an open design allowing for many different technologies to be added or replaced as advancements continue in the coming years. Solon will design and install the control system and oversee the project.
In August 2011, Solon, in partnership with AzRISE, will introduce the first phase of the project with a compressed air energy storage technology designed and constructed by faculty and students at the University of Arizona.
CAES can be an ideal solution for storing large amounts of energy, giving utilities the option of shifting solar energy output by hours, days, or even seasonally. This means utility owners will have the option of using the energy produced by their solar plants when they need it most.
To better address shorter-term variability caused by events such as cloud coverage, a faster response is required of the storage medium. In keeping with this, the second phase of the project, due to be installed in the fall, will be a lithium-ion solution, followed by the third and fourth phases in the spring of 2012. All of these storage systems will be managed with Solon's SCADA system.