France announces tenders for PV and battery storage systems


It’s been an exciting few days for both the energy storage and PV technology markets. Following the unveiling by Tesla of its Powerwall home and Powerpack commercial batteries, there has been a rush of news regarding PV storage partnerships.

The latest news comes from France, where the country’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has announced a tender for 50 MW of installed power – combining storage battery technology with PV – in the country's overseas departments and territories, often referred to as the DOM-TOM, and the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

The 50 MW comprises 25 MW of installations on rooftops and another 25 MW of PV and battery systems mounted on the ground or on parking shade structures. The minimum size of a system must be 100 KW.

The tender's objective, says the ministry, is to "deploy solar energy which is particularly adapted to island electrical systems." Combining innovative storage technology solutions with PV, the installations will limit the consumption of electricity when demand is high, it added.

Furthermore, the application of innovative battery and PV configurations will allow these systems to both predict their power output and enhance the quality of the generated electricity. Therefore, the ministry remarks, the tender will support systems that suit specifically isolated island grids, enabling the energy autonomy of the overseas territories.

The French overseas departments and territories have a population of about three million people, who live in remote islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The deadline for tender submissions is November 20, 2015.

Utility scale battery storage for island networks

Battery storage solutions were also a significant part of the Large-Scale Solar U.K. event taking place in Bristol, England on April 29 and 30. Speaking at the event, Marek Kubik of the AES corporation, an independent power producer active in more than 20 energy markets globally, said batteries are particularly significant for islands' energy systems with high potential, but little interconnection.

In Ireland, for instance, Kubik said wind and solar power penetration is capped at 50% of demand to preserve grid stability. As a result, grid balancing and constraint payments in the Irish Singe Market have grown in five of the last six consecutive years, from €100 million in 2009, to €176 million in 2014. AES, Kubik added, is planning a 100 MW battery in Northern Ireland, which upon completion will be Europe's biggest.

Utility-scale advanced energy storage, Kubik concluded, is commercially viable today, but national regulatory frameworks need to evolve.

On April 27, AES also announced "projects in construction or late stage development are expected to deliver 260 MW of interconnected battery-based energy storage, equivalent to 520 MW of flexible power resource, 25% of which is expected to be on-line by mid-2016." These projects, it said, are in addition to the 86 MW of interconnected energy storage the company already has in operation globally.

Edited by Becky Beetz

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