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4 Primary On-Grid Applications Using Solar PV and Battery Storage

Published: 24 August 2023

In a world marked by increasing energy demands and a growing emphasis on sustainability, harnessing the energy from solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems has emerged as pivotal power solutions. This dynamic duo is revolutionizing the way we interact with energy, offering a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond traditional electricity usage.

As we delve into the realm of solar and battery technology, we uncover a quartet of primary on-grid applications that are reshaping the energy landscape: tariff arbitrage, peak shaving, renewable energy production management, and large-scale applications.

solar pv panels

Each application showcases the remarkable potential of solar PV and batteries to optimize energy consumption and pave the way towards a greener, more efficient future.

1. Tariff Arbitrage

Entails buying electricity when it is at its cheapest from the national grid during off-peak times (between midnight and 05h00). The electricity purchased is then stored in the batteries for later use during peak times when electricity costs are at a premium, usually between 6:00 and 9:00 in the mornings and 17h00 and 19h00 in the evenings. The objective is to decrease overall electricity costs.

2. Peak Shaving

Reduces energy and maximum demand usage from the site’s grid during times when peak loads are operational; this is done based on the site’s specific profile. For example, bakeries start operating before 05h00 and continue through Eskom’s peak cost period. However, their consumption drops considerably for the remainder of the day, including the evening peak time.

To address this, one can configure a solar PV and battery system to supply power to the site during these peak hours; this helps decrease the overall demand and consumption during those critical periods.

3. Renewable Energy Production Management

A solution for clients who want to attain a higher renewable fraction in their system. Typically, sites around South Africa with standard solar PV grid-type systems achieve around 30%-35% renewable fraction. The renewable fraction and the amount of usable solar energy can be increased by ‘oversizing’ the solar PV system for the site and adding batteries. All excess solar PV power not used for primary consumption can be stored for later use during non-sunlight hours.

4. Large-scale Applications

Offers a solution in a constrained grid environment like ours with limited generation capability. Clients undertaking large-scale projects or specific industries find their daily capacity capped by Eskom. To overcome this challenge, clients can install a solar PV system with storage batteries and other renewable sources like wind to enhance power availability at the site.

Amidst the array of applications mentioned, a standout example of innovation is Sustainable Power Solutions’ collaboration with Frupak and the Ceres municipality in South Africa. This project embraces on-grid battery storage and tariff arbitrage technology, which alleviates pressure on the municipality to provide power during peak times. Harnessing the stored energy from the batteries, this solution injects power during peak time-of-use periods to reduce the consumer’s load.

The synergy between solar PV systems and batteries is igniting a new era of energy utilization, propelling us closer to a sustainable and eco-conscious world. By embracing solar PV and batteries, individuals and industries alike can not only navigate the complexities of modern energy challenges but also steer towards a brighter, cleaner, and more resilient future.

SPS's Battery Storage Installation at Frupak, Ceres
SPS's on-grid battery storage installation at Frupak