One of the most advanced microgrids in the world is about to expand with the addition of a sophisticated energy storage system.
The existing microgrid at the University of California, San Diego generates 92% of the electricity used on the campus annually. The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh storage system uses lithium-ion iron-phosphate batteries, which contain no heavy metals or toxic electrolytes and are non-explosive and fire-safe even when exposed to direct flames. The batteries will provide another outlet to store intermittent renewable resources such as solar power.
UCSD’s microgrid also includes 3.8 million gallons of thermal energy storage used as a chiller during the warmest time of day, as well as a second-life demonstration site for electic vehicle batteries. The university plans to add a 30 kW ultracapacitor-based storage system that will be combined with an existing concentrated photovoltaic installation.
In addition, UCSD will be eligible for up to $3.25 million in financial incentives after the storage system is installed in spring 2015. The same rebate program is available to customers of any of the four California investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, South California Gas, and San Diego Gas & Electric.