New Li-ion Battery Storage for San Diego Microgrid

A 2.5MW, 5MWh battery energy storage system is to be integrated in the University of California’s San Diego microgrid.
Published: Mon 06 Oct 2014

The new 2.5MW, 5MWh lithium-ion iron-phosphate battery system – enough to power 2,500 homes – was purchased from China’s BYD. The system, claimed to be one of the largest, most environmentally-friendly, battery-based energy storage systems in the US, is the latest addition to UC San Diego’s diverse portfolio of energy storage devices.

The new battery system will be integrated into the university’s microgrid, which generates 92% of the electricity used on campus annually.

“Energy storage has the potential to transform the global energy landscape,” said Gary C. Matthews, vice chancellor for Resource Management and Planning. “It can help make renewable energy sources more reliable and is critical to a resilient, efficient, clean and cost-effective grid. We are proud to help advance this technology.”

San Diego microgrid storage

Other devices currently in place include the following, with additional energy storage projects being planned as well:

● 30kW 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 new 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.

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Li-ion storage leader

Li-ion technology has emerged as the global leader in energy storage technology, although flywheels and flow batteries are also making significant headway, according to a recent study from Navigant Research.

Navigant Research finds that the 2013-2014 period has been particularly active for Li-ion technology, with 168.6 MW announced in the past 2 years. Globally a total of more than 236MW of Li-ion has been deployed.