Moixa contracted under residential flexibility power scheme in the UK

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Storage system and virtual power plant provider Moixa has secured a second contract for flexible power sourced from its residential battery systems through a tender process with electricity distribution company U.K. Power Networks. In May, Moixa achieved a similar arrangement with fellow electric utility Western Power Grid.

Moixa has secured the right to offer 50 kW of flexibility from its system of 4.8 kWh household batteries in the Lewes-Newhaven area in the South East of England. UK Power Networks has offered contracts for a total of 18.2 MW of flexibility from six companies across eight locations for a total tender value of £450,000 ($566,000)

According to Moixa, there are thousands of people in Lewes and Newhaven who are not reaping the full benefits of solar systems, as the lack of a battery to maximize self-consumption leaves them subject to potentially low smart export guarantee payments, in line with the new remuneration regime recently announced by the U.K. government. The storage provider said it is seeking customers to join its flexible power provision deal, and said participants could cut their energy bills in half.

Flexible capacity potential

“Unlocking the potential distributed generation from homes across the U.K. will be key to delivering a more cost-effective, clean and reliable grid that provides new benefits for customers,” said Simon Daniel, Moixa CEO. “Households have a huge role to play in the future of our energy system. Very soon the majority of homes won’t just be consuming electricity, they’ll be generating, storing and selling it too, while helping the network operators to deliver the best service to their customers at lower costs. The grid services we will provide U.K. Power Networks in Lewes-Newhaven showcase that the transition to this future is already well on its way.”

Moixa’s battery systems have a comparatively small storage capacity as the company’s approach is to use its Gridshare platform to enable neighborhoods to trade peer to peer energy. Such trading reduces peak time demand, enabling participants to reduce energy bills. “[The batteries] will also export power in response to demand across U.K. Power Networks’ region, to provide an even more reliable power service to meet consumption during peak periods,” the company stated.

On May 15, U.K. Power Networks was the first operator to use the Piclo online platform to host and manage bidding processes for flexible power. Piclo was developed with the electric company to match energy provider resources with the network operator’s local need for flexible energy resources.

Market uncertainty

The network operator estimates that by 2023, the market for flexibility could reach 200 MW. “This could reduce peak power demand on the distribution network by the equivalent of approximately 130,000 homes and help deliver a more cost-effective, reliable and decarbonized network,” a U.K. Power Networks statement said.

The residential solar market in the U.K. is being bruised by a government which, despite declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is mulling a VAT rise on solar products, from 5% to 20% – for which it is attempting to blame the European Court of Justice – and replacing its export tariff system with a smart export guarantee which fails to provide a floor price, rendering solar investments more risky.

Under the rules that replaced the export tariff scheme in April, energy companies with at least 150,000 retail customers must publish payment terms for small solar generators which export excess power to the grid from January 1. Smaller companies may take part voluntarily.