First batteries installed for Isles of Scilly smart storage project

A £10.8m smart energy project testing how solar power, smart heating and electric vehicles (EVs) can be used to improve the energy system on the Isles of Scilly had its first set of storage batteries installed on Tuesday (24 July).

UK-based smart battery developer Moixa Technologies has begun installing smart batteries on the Isles of Scilly for use in households and non-domestic sites in a bid to cut the islands’ electricity bills by 40%, source 40% of energy demand from renewables and create a 40% share of the transport market for low-emission vehicles by 2025.

Announced in March 2017, the £10.8m project will see 43.8kWh worth of batteries installed across the isles, with 10 smart homes set to be created to pilot energy storage solutions, renewables integration, air source heat pumps and smart water heaters.

Moixa’s chief technology officer, Chris Wright, said: “The Isles of Scilly will be a global test-bed for batteries, electric vehicles and smart heating systems, showing how they can save money for households, enable more clean renewable power, and support efficient, cost-effective energy systems. It will demonstrate the value of technologies that can benefit communities all over the world.”

First of many

The project on the Isles of Scilly is the first in a series of interconnected energy projects across various islands set to be delivered by the Smart Islands Partnership.

It aims to pilot new systems that improve the energy use for the 2,200 islanders by injecting the energy mix with low-carbon sources that are both flexible and stable this autumn. The Isles of Scilly, located 28 miles from the UK mainland, have no gas supply and rely on imported fossil fuels and electricity, with more than 15% of households classified as fuel poor – one of the UK’s highest rates.

The batteries will supplement around 450kW of solar panels that will be installed on more than 70 council-owned homes, as well as the islands’ fire station, recycling facility and desalination plant. As a result, renewable capacity on the islands’ will more than double while saving almost 900 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The Isles of Scilly Community Venture, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, will sell generated solar power and use the income to reduce the electricity bills for the islanders through an energy tariff set be launched later this summer.

Moixa and home energy services company PassivSystems have developed smart control systems utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage and optimise the batteries, heat pumps and water heaters for householders, using artificial intelligence to learn their patterns of consumption and maximise savings. The system is due to launch in November and will help balance the supply and demand of the energy system.

Charge points and an electric van will also be introduced by Moixa to pilot a vehicle-to-grid system to further enhance the efficiency of the system.

Moixa has previously secured government funding to expand its flexible energy platform that transforms third-party batteries and EVs into “virtual power plants“. The Smart Island project was also referenced as a case study the Government’s Industrial Strategy due to its potential to boost worker skills and decarbonise energy grids.

Matt Mace

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