Corsica hosts 5 MW/7.5 MWh solar plant with Tesla batteries

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From pv magazine France.

Solar developer Corsica Sole is planning four PV-plus-storage projects on the French island. “It will be the largest plan of this kind,” project director Anthony Bonello told pv magazine.

The plan will be implemented with Tesla’s Powerpack batteries, which operate on a modular basis so storage is offered even if individual units are down. The system is scalable too, said Bonello, so batteries can be added or removed depending on solar plant performance. “Tesla assures us that the energy capacity on the AC side will be 7.5 MWh for 25 years,” said the Corsica Sole representative.

The solar plant and battery system can also operate independently, if needed, said Bonello. The power management system – the “conductor of the power station” as the project director called it – was developed by specialist Nidec Industrial Solutions. It enables management of the PV plant and of loading and discharging the storage system within milliseconds, in combination with the energy management system developed by Corsica Sole.

Bonello said both management systems “intelligently” pilot the power station and storage so electricity is constantly available. “This intelligent energy control device is innovative and highly sophisticated,” he said. It is said to be able to make a fine estimate of the amount of electricity to be generated the following day or on the current day, based on the state of the plant and weather forecasts. Electricity distributor EDF SEI will buy the power generated for 25 years.

Flexibility

If conditions and production differ from commitments made to energy off-taker EDF, the system will determine whether it is preferable to inject electricity directly into the network, store it or destock.

At the PV plant, high-performance Sunpower panels are mounted on STI Norland trackers, which “greatly improves the performance of the solar power plant and allows for more stable solar production during the day,” Bonello added.

Financing for the €20 million project was offered by regional bank co-operative Caisse d’Epargne Provence Alpes Corse and French investment bank BPI, as well as the Eurofideme 3 fund which is managed by Parisian financial services group Mirova.

Corsica Sole said the plant at Giuncaccio, in the northeastern part of the island, generates solar electricity for around €200/MWh (€0.20/kWh), cheaper than fossil fuel-generated power. “The local community should be able to save tens of millions of euros each year if this type of installation becomes widespread in non-interconnected zones.” stated the company.

The plan

The Giuncaccio project is the first of four planned solar-plus-storage projects intended to generate enough electricity to power 4,000 homes. The 5 MW/7.5 MWh facility – together with the 1.5 MW/2.3 MWh Pancheraccia project – were commissioned in the summer. The 4.8 MW/7 MWh Giurone project was commissioned last year and a fourth, 1.5 MW/2.3 MWh installation is set to be commissioned next summer.

Corsica Sole has around 100 MW of PV plant generation capacity in operation or under construction plus 60 MWh of storage capacity. The developer has set a goal of installing 20 MW of solar and 15 MWh of storage this year and 35 MW plus 22 MWh in 2020. “We are constantly growing,” said project director Bonello.

This article was amended on 24/10/19 to add the fact STI Norland is supplying the project trackers.