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Project installs home batteries to boost use of solar power

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The trial will see batteries installed in 40 homes in Oxspring, near Barnsley, and linked in a “virtual power plant”.

A pilot project in Yorkshire will aim to demonstrate how clusters of home batteries can increase capacity on the electricity network and enable more householders to install solar panels.

The trial will see batteries installed in 40 homes in Oxspring, near Barnsley, and linked in a “virtual power plant” in the first project to study how this solution can reduce peak solar output onto the electricity networks when there is low local demand. 

Project partner Moixa Smart Batteries will manage the cluster of batteries to reduce peak generation output. Its software includes “learning algorithms” that respond to solar generation, electricity network needs and each user’s behaviour to maximise the benefits of storage.

By linking the batteries in a virtual power plant Moixa will also be able to provide services that make the wider electricity grid more efficient, greener and cheaper to run, such as maintaining a stable frequency, so reducing the need for back-up power from coal, oil and gas. In the future, residents will also receive a share of income from Moixa for these grid services.

If successful, the £250,000 trial could help save UK network operators millions of pounds for customers by reducing the need to upgrade infrastructure, which will help ensure that network-related charges on customers’ electricity bills remain good value.

Andrew Spencer, system planning manager for Northern Powergrid, which paid for the trial, said: “Batteries will play a key role in the smart energy system of the future, keeping costs down whilst allowing the power network to support greater concentrations of solar power. 

“This innovative project will provide valuable data on how the inclusion of batteries in solar schemes can enable our designers to connect more PV panels before further network reinforcement is required.”

The first batteries were due to be installed last month.

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