Tesla batteries to power world's first hybrid-electric buildings

Tesla battery packs will be used to part-power 24 office buildings in California, under a deal announced today

The storage system  will aim to reduce electricity costs and lower the reliance on power plants by charging the batteries during nonpeak hours

The storage system will aim to reduce electricity costs and lower the reliance on power plants by charging the batteries during nonpeak hours

The Irvine Company, a real-estate firm with properties throughout California, will install Tesla battery systems the size of five parking spaces, that will reduce peak grid energy consumption across the company's entire portfolio by 25%.

The storage system, the first of which will be installed later this year, will aim to reduce electricity costs and lower the reliance on power plants by charging the batteries during nonpeak hours. The stored energy will then be used when needed, or during power grid outages. The batteries can last between 4-6 hours without grid support.

Irvine Company's vice president of energy management Rich Bluth said: "As a long-term owner, the Irvine Company takes great pride in being on the cutting edge of building design, sustainability and energy efficiency.

"Energy storage is a game-changer. It will allow building owners to participate in grid support and reduce costs while causing no disruption or discomfort to our customers, residents or guests."

Green County

This initiative has been formed in collaboration with San Francisco-based Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) and renewable energy giant SunEdison and will provide Sothern California Edison's (SCE's) grid modernisation plan with up to 10 megawatts of reserve capacity.

SunEdison will install and operate the Powerback battery systems from Tesla which will see the buildings switch to batter power storage whenever SCE signals that grid demand is too high.

AMS chief executive Susan Kennedy said: "This initiative creates value all the way around—for building owners, customers and utilities. SCE is tapping into the power of their own customers' building load to manage the grid. This revolutionary partnership between a utility and its customers represents the future of the electric grid."

The Orange County turning green could well be phase one of 'international megashift' towards energy storage batteries. In August this year the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) released a study predicting that within the next 10 years the cost of Li-ion batteries will fall 60% by 2020 and the cost of flow batteries will fall by 40%, leading to an installation boom.

Matt Mace

 


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