The solar-plus-storage microgrid at Peña Station NEXT (Peña), a 382-acre smart city development in Denver, has been named an Energy Storage North America (ESNA) 2017 Innovation Awards finalist.
Project partners include Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, Xcel Energy, Denver International Airport, LC Fulenwider, Inc., and Younicos. Partners share microgrid assets and benefits in a multi-stakeholder “portfolio” model that helps the utility modernize and manage its electricity grid with innovative technologies, aids grid integration of solar PV, strengthens resilience (including through backup power) for customers and critical loads, and supports the sustainability goals of diverse organizations.
ESNA, an industry event for policy, technology, and market leaders in the energy storage industry, organizes the annual Innovation Awards to recognize projects that are helping to transform the energy storage ecosystem by enabling the transition to a clean, affordable, resilient, and reliable power grid and opening new markets for energy storage. Finalists were selected based on projects’ impact on this ecosystem, including services supplied to customers and the grid and unique technology applications. Eight finalists in two categories—Centralized Storage (utility-scale) and Distributed Storage (commercial, industrial or residential)—are competing through 7 July to win the award for their category. Winners will be determined solely through public voting and announced at the upcoming ESNA Conference and Expo, held 8-10 August in San Diego, California (US).
Where many microgrids are used by a single entity (e.g., military, corporate, or college campuses), the portfolio microgrid at Peña includes a set of assets that are shared between stakeholders:
- 1.6 MWdc carport solar photovoltaic (PV) system
- 259 kWdc rooftop solar PV array atop Panasonic’s facility
- Anchor electricity load at Panasonic’s Technology and Business Solutions Center
- 1 MW / 2MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS)
- Switching/control systems to operate the BESS and microgrid functionality
As an example of the portfolio model for sharing microgrid assets, Denver International Airport owns the parking lot and carport structure at Peña; Xcel Energy owns and operates the solar PV system atop the structure under a long-term lease; and Panasonic performs the operations and maintenance on the system.
The BESS, owned and operated by Xcel Energy, leverages the microgrid assets to perform a stack of five distinct but complementary use cases that aid grid integration of solar energy, improve power quality and reliability for C&I customers like Panasonic, and improve operations of Xcel Energy’s distribution grid. The ability to stack value streams through a multi-use microgrid strengthens project economics, even in advance of continued cost declines for battery energy storage.
The announcement of ESNA Innovation Award finalists comes as the US energy storage market experienced its largest quarter to date. According to GTM Research, in Q1 2017 the U.S. deployed 234MWh of energy storage, compared to 336MWh of storage deployment in all of 2016.
Voting for the 2017 Innovation Awards will remain open through 7 July via the ESNA website. One vote per user will count toward the final results.