Saft wins energy storage wins California contract

Energy storage system maker Saft won its third contract from a major California utility. Since the first utility-scale storage system was commissioned at the end of 2012, Saft received two additional contracts bringing the total to a combined energy storage system capacity of 7.5 MWh, deployed in 12 containers. The lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage systems will be used to mitigate power fluctuations inherent with solar-generated electricity.

The first energy storage system supplied by Saft to the California utility, partially funded by the Department of Energy, ultimately participated in one of the first times in the nation’s history that a microgrid was used to power a large portion of a community during an emergency situation.

Commissioned in late 2012, the contract included three battery containers and one power electronics container, rated at 500 kW/1,500 kWh and installed at a remote desert community microgrid. The community is served by a single transmission line that is subject to disruptions due to weather fluctuations and the prevalence of wildfires.

Saft’s energy storage system solution demonstrated its operational value in the fall of 2013 when intense thunderstorms cut power to the community. Utility engineers were able to call on the microgrid for assistance and used its local power sources to restore electricity to 1,060 customers, including the essential downtown business area. The location’s fragile connection to the power distribution system, proximity to a local substation and prevalence of customer-generated solar power served as an ideal microgrid test site.

Saft recently delivered and installed the second energy storage system for microgrid application at the same desert community substation. This energy storage system, which is housed in four containers, is larger in capacity and rated at 1 MW/3 MWh.

Also rated at 1 MW/3 MWh, Saft’s third energy storage system delivery will be used at an urban educational facility. Saft’s energy storage system will moderate the effects of shade on the rooftop solar power system by shifting energy and buffering during intermittent sunlight.

This third contract highlights the positive field performance of Saft’s energy storage systems and positions Saft for future business in the region. Under the California Public Utilities Commission’s implementation of AB 2514, the California investor-owned utilities are required to procure 1.3 GW of cost-effective energy storage system by 2020, and Saft is well positioned to contribute to the planned 32 percent of distribution storage under the program.

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