The first of a new generation of energy storage technologies has been installed at the CREST Passive Pavilion at South West College and was launched today in Enniskillen. Designed and Manufactured by Arbarr Electronics from Limavady, the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery storage facility has been installed to store electricity produced from the onsite 49kW robotic solar photovoltaic (PV) array. It is thought to be the first of its type in the UK and Ireland.
The PV array is designed to fully meet the annual energy requirement of the new CREST Passive Pavilion enabling the building to be carbon neutral. The PV installation utilises twenty five individual solar arrays, which are adjusted throughout the day to track the sun by two robots running along a rail. This approach reduces the overall installation and maintenance costs for a solar tracked array and significantly increases the electrical output of the system when compared with a standard static PV system. It is the first robotic solar tracker to have been installed in Europe. The total amount of electricity produced by the PV system exceeds the power demand for the Passive Pavilion. However, there are times when insufficient power is being produced such as during the night time and on cooler, duller days when the Pavilion heating is in operation. The battery storage enables surplus energy produced by the PV system during brighter periods to be stored and used when needed.
The technology has been designed and manufactured by Arbarr Electronics and this particular model is called the 'F18.40', highlighting that it is a fixed system (F) which has a continuous power delivery capability of 18kW (18) and a capacity of 40kWh (40), hence F18.40.
Arbarr Electronics was founded in 1989 by James McCorley and has been at the forefront of developing innovative energy storage solutions for many years. Operating from Limavady, the company has an expanding, global customer base.
John Harrison from South West College said, “This is a very exciting development for the college and forms a working example of an energy storage solution, especially for Fermanagh where grid connection is a problem. To be able to install and demonstrate cutting edge technologies like this not only shows our commitment to renewable energy and innovative technology but also offers excellent opportunities for businesses who have grid connection problems.”
The new energy storage system will be used by CREST to demonstrate how energy can be stored effectively and utilised when required for a complete off grid system. CREST are organising an Energy Storage Technologies conference on 30th September 2015 and more information will be available closer to the time.
CREST is one of South West College’s innovation centres. CREST has world class R&D facilities and a team of staff through which it provides support to small to medium sized businesses in Northern Ireland and beyond, enabling them to develop and adopt new renewable energy and sustainable technologies.