Eneco Puts Home Storage To The Test

Residential storage use cases go under the microscope in the Netherlands.
Published: Thu 14 Apr 2016

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With growing interest in home energy storage as its costs drop, questions are arising around its economic viability and potential impact on the utility business.

For example, a recent study by AusNet Services in Australia found value in using storage for demand response. [Engerati-AusNet Services Demonstrates Value In Home Energy Storage] However, at present the storage costs are still too high to make it a viable option.

Now in the Netherlands the energy supplier Eneco is launching a project with researchers at the Delft University of Technology, in which three use cases will be investigated - intelligent power management, charging of electric vehicles and DC technology. In each of the cases the batteries will be fed from solar PV systems.

Storage use cases

Intelligent power management is the most fundamental of the home storage use cases, enabling the user to take advantage of energy stored in the day during the evening and nighttime hours when the sun isn’t shining or when the solar irradiation is changing rapidly due for example to cloud cover.

In this project a household installation in the Netherlands is emulated with the aim to evaluate factors such as the implementation costs, efficiency and payback time of a PV-battery system performing intelligent power management.

In the EV use case project, the focus is on the development of a highly efficient, modular, smart charging station for EVs that is powered by solar energy. Research has shown that there is sufficient solar insolation to charge an EV from a PV array in The Netherlands. However, because of the large difference in daily yield between summer and winter, a grid connection is needed.

A high efficiency multi-port converter has been designed and built that integrates the PV, EV and grid. To perform thorough testing of the converter in the lab, a smart storage system that imitates the EV is required. Up to three rechargeable batteries may be used in parallel to perform full power testing.

In the third use case, the role of storage in managing grid congestion and avoiding the need for reinforcement will be investigated. With the growth of distributed renewables and loads such as EVs, congestions are expected to occur on the distribution grid. In the demonstration battery storage will be used as one of the storage elements reacting to dynamic prices in the grid.

Electrical Sustainable Power lab

The project is being led by the DC systems, Energy Conversion & Storage group in TU Delft’s Electrical Sustainable Power (ESP) Laboratory headed by Professor Pavol Bauer.

Engerati will bring updates on the project as it proceeds with the findings set to be of relevance generally within the Netherlands but also more widely, especially within Europe.