As the popularity of solar energy continues to grow, one of the challenges that remains to be overcome is its relative lack of flexibility. That issue has to do with storage: although significant amounts of renewable electricity are currently being generated - both industrially and by individual households - sufficient infrastructure to store this electricity is lacking. Usually, the surplus production can be exported into the grid, but in some cases congestion can occur: the grid, after all, was not developed to deal with high solar input.
In Northern Ireland, an initiative called Project Girona has been launched, among others to tackle this issue. Aimed at giving people ‘fuel choice and energy flexibility as a service’, the project will install at no charge a Sonnen battery and, where required, solar panels to enable households to generate and store their own energy, which is then available for used when required. When all the energy in the battery has been used, the system then reverts back to the mains supply, ensuring households are never without electricity.
The project is spearheaded by Belfast firm, The Electric Storage Company.
“Our project is all about enabling the residents of Northern Ireland to utilise solar power alongside battery storage in their homes. The electricity that will be generated can be used for various things including lighting, cooking and heating,” explained Anne Marie McGoldrick from The Electric Storage Company.
“Currently approximately 70 per cent of electricity is generated from renewable sources in Northern Ireland but 50 per cent of that electricity is discarded because there is no mechanism to store it – that’s where our batteries come in. Project Girona is installing batteries in households and solar panels, where required, so that people can generate and store all the energy from their roof and use it whenever they need it.”