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Maximize PV Production with a DC-to-DC Converter

ADDING ENERGY STORAGE WITH A COST-EFFECTIVE DC-TO-DC CONVERTER WILL MAXIMIZE PRODUCTION & PROFITS OF INSTALLED NORTH AMERICA PV BASE

BY CHRIS LARSEN

Traditional storage plus solar (PV) applications have involved the coupling of independent storage and PV inverters at an AC bus, or alternatively the use of multi-input hybrid inverters. Here we will examine how a new cost-effective approach of coupling energy storage to existing PV arrays with a DC-to-DC converter can help maximize production and profits for existing and new utility-scale installations. This new approach leads to higher round trip efficiencies and lower cost of integration with existing PV arrays, and at the same time opens up new use cases not possible with traditional AC-coupled storage.

DC-to-DC Coupled Solar Plus Storage Revenue Streams

The addition of energy storage to an existing or new utility-scale PV installation allows system owners and operators the opportunity to capture additional revenues. Six distinct solar plus storage use cases are discussed below.  DC-coupled storage allows project owners to access all six of these use cases, and, as compared with AC-coupling, three use cases are only available with the DC-coupled approach — clipping recapture, curtailment recapture and low voltage harvest.

CLIPPING RECAPTURE
Maximize Value Of PV Generated Energy

Given common inverter loading ratios of 1.25:1 up to 1.5:1 on utility-scale PV (PVDC rating : PVAC rating), there is opportunity for the recapture of clipped energy through the addition of energy storage. Using a simplified system for illustrative purposes, consider a 14MWDC PV array behind a total inverter capacity of 10MWAC. Depending on your location and type of racking, the total clipped energy can be over 1,000,000 kWh per year. Without energy storage these kWhs are lost and revenues stunted. With storage attached to the array, the batteries can be charged with excess PV output when the PV inverter hits its peak rating and would otherwise begin clipping. This stored energy can then be fed into the grid at the appropriate time. Note that this ability to capture clipped DC output is only possible using a DC-coupled storage system.  


Clipping is a phenomenon where the DC-AC PV inverter has hit its peak AC output, for example 1MWAC, and therefore must drive the PV DC array voltage off of the maximum power point in order to effectively curtail the PV array. It is not possible to move or shunt this power to an AC-coupled battery system because doing so would force the PV inverter to exceed its rating to pass any excess PV energy onto the common AC bus.


Instead, using a DC-coupled storage configuration, the DC-DC converter will charge the batteries directly from the DC bus with the excess energy that the PV inverter cannot use. In the simple example of Figure 1 where there is a 1MW AC inverter with a 1.4MW DC array, during that time of day with the array is producing greater than 1 MW DC — perhaps from 10am to 2pm — that excess energy can be used by the DC-DC converter to charge the batteries for discharge through the PV inverter later at a predetermined time when the either the PV output is low or when there is a peak demand on the grid for kWh production.

CURTAILMENT & OUTAGE RECAPTURE
Continuous Uptime

PV inverters typically require a minimum threshold DC bus voltage to operate. On a 1,500VDC nominal system, this ‘wake up’ voltage may be around 500VDC. As a result of this minimum voltage threshold, available generated energy in the morning and
evening when voltage on the array is below the PV inverter ’wake up’ threshold is not captured.

Adding energy storage through a DC-to-DC converter allows for the capture of this generated energy from the margins. This phenomenon also takes place when there is cloud coverage. In both cases this lost energy could be captured by a DC-coupled
energy storage system. This capability is only available with a DC-DC converter that has voltage source capability.

CAPACITY FIRMING
Turn Solar Energy Into A Dispatchable Asset

Adding solar to storage gives the system operator the ability to bid firm capacity into merchant markets. That is, storage makes PV generation a dispatchable revenue generating asset. If your storage system is full charged entering the next 24-hour period, system owners can confidently bid into the day-ahead capacity market at any time of day and with no weather contingencies. Depending on the available local capacity market, this may translate to higher overall system revenue than if operated on a traditional flat $/kWh PPA rate structure.

 

ENERGY TIME SHIFTING
Utilize Generated PV Energy When Its Value is Highest

Energy storage allows bulk energy shifting of solar generation to take advantage of higher PPA rates in peak periods or to allow utilities to address daily peak demand that falls outside periods of solar generation.

While like capacity firming discussed previously, this is not a use case unique to or only available with a DC-coupled storage configuration, the lower installed cost of DC-coupled with the higher efficiency discussed below may make revenue opportunities such as energy time shifting and capacity firming pencil out — and economically attractive.

RAMP RATE CONTROL
Modulate Power for Continuous Grid Connection

Ramp rate control is often required by utilities and ISOs for PV and wind systems to mitigate the impact of a sudden injection of power onto the grid or a sudden loss of generation due to the intermittent nature of both generation sources.

A ramp rate of 1MW/minute, for example, has been required by HECO in Hawai’i to limit the speed with which a large array can come up to power or trail off in the event of cloud cover.

A storage system coupled with PV can monitor PV inverter output and inject or consume power to ensure the net output remains within the ramp requirements allowing for continuous energy injection into the grid.  Additionally, with this ramp rate control benefit, energy otherwise lost when a PV inverter would self-regulate during a ramp up (by manipulating the I-V curve to curtail power output) can now be stored for later use. That is, not only can the storage system provide a regulatory benefit during ramp up and ramp down (PV inverters alone can only modulate ramp up events), but there is some revenue recapture from the storage
of the excess energy during ramp up.

Note that the ramp up phenomenon is much sharper on arrays with higher DC:AC inverter loading ratios.  One of the desired effects of a large inverter loading ratio is the “boxier” output curve versus the traditional bell-shaped curve we associate with traditional PV systems with closer to a 1:1 DC:AC ratio.  The potential negative is that for grid areas where the ramp up is regulated, there is greater potential loss of otherwise sellable kWh during the ramp up.  Therefore, coupling PV with storage provides one more opportunity to optimize revenue from your utility-scale PV array.

Adding Energy Storage with a DC-to-DC Converter

As noted above, there are three coupling system options for adding energy storage to new or existing solar installations —
AC-coupled, hybrid solar plus storage inverters and DC-coupled with a converter. Dynapower has extensive experience in developing, manufacturing and deploying inverters and converters for each of these options.

Here we outline the benefits of our latest solution — the DC-to-DC converter — which is particularly suited for adding energy storage to existing utility-scale solar arrays. The battery capacity (MWh) can be scaled according to the site use cases and project economics.

Figure 6 Illustrates the basic design of a DC-coupled system. In this set-up the storage ties into the system behind the existing PV inverter and combines in parallel with existing PV strings at a recombiner. Depending on the size of the inverter and the use cases, designers can install multiple DC-DC converters in parallel on the DC PV bus.

FINANCIAL BENEFIT #1
Maximize all potential value streams

Of the previous outlined revenue streams available to PV with energy storage, the DC-coupled approach allows for revenues to be derived from all value streams — guaranteeing maximum value from an installed PV array. Not all revenue streams are available to AC-coupled or Hybrid inverter solutions. By virtue of tying in on the AC side of the PV inverter, AC-coupled solutions by definition cannot recapture clipped DC energy, for example.

FINANCIAL BENEFIT #2
Lower Installation and Regulatory Costs

Secondly, by adding energy storage on the DC PV bus, costs associated with adding energy storage can be greatly reduced. This includes equipment and EPC costs for AC switchgear, MV transformers and associated trenching. Additionally, because none
of the system’s AC characteristics change, there should be no need for a revised interconnection agreement or interconnection study.  For developers familiar with the interconnection study process in many jurisdictions, there is a great benefit of not getting caught in a long interconnection review queue or tying up internal or external engineering resources to guide systems through the process. Likewise, depending on the off-taker, there may be no need to alter an existing PPA.

 

FINANCIAL BENEFIT #3
Greatest Possible Efficiency

A chief concern with energy storage design for utility-scale PV integration is optimizing for highest efficiency. As illustrated below, the efficiency achieved via a DC-coupled storage system is greater than for AC-coupled.  This stems from the avoidance
of funneling power through two MV transformers in the charging process as is required by AC systems.

For the illustrative figures below we have even assumed a slight efficiency advantage in a DC-AC inverter over a DC-DC converter.

Figure 7 This figure illustrates the charge cycle (1) has single DC-DC conversion, while the discharge cycle (2) has DC-DC and DC-AC conversions and one transformer conversion.  The net is 3 power electronic conversions and one transformer conversion in the round trip. Assuming the following efficiencies, the net round trip efficiency = 93.5%  (98% DC-DC * 98% DC-DC * 98.4% AC-DC * 99% transformer.)

 

Figure 8 This figure illustrates an AC-coupled system where the charge cycle (1) has two DC-AC conversions and two transformer conversions and the discharge cycle (2) has a single DC-AC conversion and one transformer conversion. The net is 3 power electronic conversions and three transformer conversions in the round trip netting a total efficiency of 92.4%.  (98.4% inverter * 99% transformer * 99% transformer * 98.4% inverter * 98.4% inverter * 99% transformer)

 

FINANCIAL BENEFIT #4
Qualify for Tax Credits

The ability for a storage system to qualify for the federal PV investment tax credit (ITC) is based on the percentage of the battery charging energy that comes from the PV array. If charged energy from the array is less than 75% of the total for battery charging, then the battery system does not qualify for any ITC benefit. With a DC-coupled design, the storage system can only be charged from the PV array so there is zero risk of ITC claw back and tax credits are made available to the owner.

Furthermore, you eliminate the additional metering and controls needed with AC-coupled storage to verify that the batteries are charged from PV energy, further reducing CAPEX.

Conclusion
Dynapower recognizes that each PV installation has its own set of circumstances and considerations. As such we offer a full suite of options — AC-Coupled, Hybrid Solar Plus Storage and DC-Coupled — for coupling energy storage with utility-scale PV installations. The DC-to-DC option can be an attractive option for coupling energy storage with existing PV in many cases. Its ease and reduced cost of installation combined with its ability to bring online all additional value streams make it particularly attractive for the over 20 GW of installed utility-scale PV.

  

For further Information:

Chris Larsen
Senior Sales Engineer
[email protected]
1 (802) 488.2132

 

 

Chip Palombini No Comments

Storage System Options to Maximize Production of Utility-Scale PV

Maximizing Production and Revenues of Utility-Scale Solar with Energy Storage

BY CHIP PALOMBINI

NORTH AMERICA currently has over 20 GW of installed utility-scale PV generation with 2016 seeing the largest amount of PV installed to date with over 14 GW brought online. The majority of this installed utility-scale PV base could expand production hours and increase production with the addition of solar plus storage.

Here we will examine the coupling of energy storage with PV by comparing the three principal methodologies for doing so: AC-coupled, DC-coupled, and hybrid solar plus storage inverters. We will also consider all possible revenue streams of solar plus storage and their availability based on available systems for coupling solar plus storage.

Learn More About How Energy Storage Can Maximize Production of Utility-Scale PV Arrays Click To Tweet

Solar Plus Storage
REVENUE STREAMS
The addition of energy storage to an existing or new utility-scale PV installation allows system owners and operators the opportunity to capture additional revenues through:

CAPACITY FIRMING
Turn Solar Energy Into A Dispatchable Asset

For certain time periods during the day the availability of storage gives the system operator the ability to bid firm capacity into merchant markets. That is storage makes PV generation a dispatchable revenue generating asset.

Depending on the available local power market, this may translate to higher kWh rates for firm capacity during
dispatchable periods.

ENERGY TIME SHIFTING
Utilize Generated PV Energy When Its Value is Highest

Energy Storage allows bulk energy shifting of solar generation to take advantage of higher PPA rates in peak periods, or to allow utilities to address daily peak demand that falls outside periods of solar generation.

Figure 1

CLIPPING RECAPTURE
Maximize Value of PV Generated Energy

Given common inverter loading ratios of 1.25:1 up to 1.5:1 on utility-scale PV (PVDC rating : PVAC rating), there is opportunity for the recapture of clipped energy through the addition of energy storage.

Using a simplified system for illustrative purposes, consider a 14MWDC PV array behind a total inverter capacity of 10MWAC. Depending on your location and type of racking, the total clipped energy can be over 1,000,000 kWh per year. With storage attached to the array, the batteries can be charged with excess PV output when the PV inverter hits its peak rating and would otherwise begin clipping. This stored energy can then be fed into the grid at the appropriate time. Without energy storage, these kWhs are lost and revenues stunted.

Figure 2: Clipping recapture opportunity on systems with High DC : AC ratios

 

 

Figure 3: Graph of clipped energy over a year.

CURTAILMENT & OUTAGE RECAPTURE
Continuous Uptime and Revenue Generation

When storage is on the DC bus behind the PV inverter, the energy storage system can operate and maintain the DC bus voltage when the PV inverter is off-line for scheduled or unplanned outages. When the PV inverter is offline the energy from the array can still flow to the batteries via the DC-DC converter ensuring energy can be harvested for later use.

The same uptime capabilities apply when a large utility- scale array is curtailed by the ISO or utility. Curtailment is sometimes seen in areas of high solar penetration — such as California — when there is overall excess production on the grid. With a DC-coupled energy storage system, energy production can continue with energy being stored and available for discharge when curtailment.

LOW VOLTAGE HARVESTING
Make Money On The Edges

PV inverters typically require a minimum threshold DC bus voltage to operate. On a 1,500VDC nominal system, this ‘wake up’ voltage may be around 500VDC. As a result of this minimum voltage threshold, available generated energy in the morning and evening when voltage on the array is below the PV inverter ’wake up’ threshold is not captured.  Adding energy storage through a DC-to-DC converter allows for the capture of this generated energy from the margins.

This phenomenon also takes place when there is cloud coverage. In both cases this lost energy could be captured by a DC-coupled energy storage system.

Figure 4

RAMP RATE CONTROL
Modulate Power for Continuous Grid Connection

Ramp rate control is often required by utilities and ISOs for PV and wind systems to mitigate the impact of a sudden injection of power onto the grid, or a sudden loss of generation due to the intermittent nature of both generation sources.

A ramp rate of 1MW/minute, for example, has been required by HECO in Hawai’i to limit the speed with which a large array can come up to power or trail off in the event of cloud cover.


A storage system coupled with PV can monitor the PV inverter output and inject or consume power to ensure the net output remains within the ramp requirements. This allows for continuous energy injection into the grid.
Additionally, with this ramp rate control benefit, energy otherwise lost when a PV inverter would self-regulate during a ramp up (by manipulating the I-V curve to curtail power output) can now be stored for later use.

Learn More About the 3 System Options for Adding Energy Storage to Utility-Scale PV Arrays to Maximize Production Click To Tweet

AC-Coupled installation Sprigg Electric (San Jose, CA)

AC-Coupled Solar Plus Storage

AC-Coupled Solar Plus Storage System

In AC-coupled systems there are two inverters, one for the battery and another for the solar PV system. With this system configuration, the power to grid can be maximized by discharging both the battery and PV at maximum power. This configuration does pose integration challenges for microgrid operations.  Dynapower offers AC-coupled solar plus storage at both behind the meter and utility scale levels.

DC to DC Installation: Over Yonder Cay (Exums, Bahamas)

DC-Coupled Power System

Primarily of interest to grid-tied solar projects, the DC coupled solution is a relatively new approach for adding storage to both existing and new construction solar projects.

DC-Coupled Power System for Solar Plus Storage

Distinct advantages include reduced cost and potentially higher efficiency than the other options.

For the tropical island of Over Yonder Cay, Dynapower provided a bidirectional, DC-to-DC converter which integrates battery energy storage and solar PV into the island’s microgrid.

Installation: Hopewell Valley Central High School (Hopewell, New Jersey)

Hybrid Solar Plus Storage

Hybrid Solar Plus Storage System

With increased interest in combining solar and energy storage, Dynapower has created a line of Hybrid Solar Plus Storage inverters which have two DC inputs; one with maximum power point tracking for PV, and the second is bidirectional and intended for use with battery energy storage. This type of system is ideal for microgrids as integration is no long required between two separate inverters.

At Hopewell Valley Central High School, Dynapower teamed with PSE&G to deliver a 1 MW project using two Dynapower containerized solar plus storage systems. This project generates solar energy which is self-consumed by the school, and also features Dynapower’s proprietary backup power capabilities in the event of a grid disturbance.

AC/DC/HYBRID
SYSTEM COMPARISON

Have a solar plus storage project and not sure what inverter to use? Dynapower can help! Click To Tweet

Dynapower has successfully delivered all three system architectures for our customers in both grid-tied and microgrid applications. When evaluating which of the system architectures is optimal, the options must be compared across a variety of metrics including cost, efficiency, reliability, and flexibility. With over a decade of experience in solar plus energy storage and over 350 MWs of inverters deployed worldwide, Dyanpower can assist you in selecting the optimal system for your existing or new PV array.

Chip Palombini
Sales Manager ESG
[email protected]

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First Energy Storage Inverter to be Certified as Smart Inverter

Dynapower Energy Storage Inverter is the First Confirmed by Intertek to Meet UL 1741 SA Requirements for Smart Inverters

South Burlington, VT (February 20, 2017) – Dynapower, the global leader in energy storage inverters, and Intertek, a leading provider of quality solutions to industries worldwide, are proud to jointly announce that Dynapower’s MPS-250 is the first storage-only energy inverter to be confirmed by Intertek to meet the UL 1741 SA requirements for a “smart” inverter.

Compliance with this standard ensures that Dynapower’s MPS-250 smart inverter is California Rule 21 and Hawaii Rule 14H compliant through development of advanced inverter features. This was achieved by Dynapower through the use of Intertek’s SATELLITE™ Data Acceptance Program.

“Dynapower has always been on the forefront of energy storage inverter technology and we are extremely pleased and proud to receive confirmation from Intertek that our MPS-250 inverter meets the UL 1741 SA draft requirements,” said Chip Palombini, sales manager of the energy storage group at Dynapower. “Working through the Intertek SATELLITE program enabled Dynapower to have full control over the timeline of the compliance process.”

“Intertek is proud to work with global leaders like Dynapower to advance the energy industry through smart inverter functionality, enabling PV integration and improving grid resiliency, crucial steps toward smart grids and smart cities,” said Sunny Rai, Vice President of Renewable Energy at Intertek. “Dynapower’s storage-only energy inverters are the first confirmed by Intertek to meet the UL 1741 SA draft requirements, and they achieved this through Intertek’s SATELLITE program, which allows manufacturers to run more efficient compliance programs.”

In addition to the smart inverter features required by the new standard, Dynapower also incorporated Dynamic Transfer as a standard feature into the Generation 2 MPS-250. Dynamic Transfer enables a “backup power” mode of operation for energy storage systems.

About Dynapower

Dynapower is a global leader in the design and manufacture of power conversion equipment including high-power rectifiers, energy storage inverters, microgrid control systems and transformers. Dynapower provides power electronics solutions for energy storage, industrial, mining, military, and research applications. With more than 53 years of experience providing power electronics solutions to a global customer base, Dynapower’s product range includes discrete power electronics and fully integrated systems ranging from 100 kilowatts to 36 megawatts. Dynapower has more than 300 MW of the company’s high reliability, energy storage inverters deployed worldwide. For more information, visit: www.Dynapower.com.

About Intertek

Intertek is a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. Our network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 40,000 people in more than 100 countries, delivers innovative and bespoke Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification solutions for our customers’ operations and supply chains. www.intertek.com

Bringing quality and safety to life

 

 

For Dynapower & Media Inquiries:
Richard Morin
Marketing
Dynapower
+1 (802) 652-1313
[email protected]

For Intertek:
Sarah H. Linn
Senior Manager, Global Marketing
Intertek
+44 1372 370900 office
+44 7484 507334 mobile
[email protected]

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Webinar: Maximizing the Value of C&I Energy Storage Systems

Selecting the Right Inverter: Maximizing the Value of C&I Energy Storage Systems

Each year power outages cost commercial and industrial businesses tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity. Of the over 3,500 power outages nationwide last year — two thirds of which lasted under 5 minutes — deploying energy storage systems capable of seamless transition to backup power could save American businesses tens of billions of dollars each year.

But in order to add the value of back-up power with energy storage systems used to defray demand charges for commercial and industrial businesses, the right inverter needs to be selected.

In this webinar, Dynapower’s Chip Palombini and Apurva Somani will address:

  • Considerations when selecting an inverter for commercial and industrial ESS
  • The benefits of seamless transition compared to through stop transition when integrating back up power in an ESS
  • Ability to scale ESS system as business needs grow
  • Cost for integrating and deploying back up power — it’s nominal.
  • Maximizing Single Phase Systems and reduce costs
  • Introduction of Dynapower and Samsung’s integrated energy storage solution.

View Webinar

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Dynapower and Samsung SDI Launch Integrated Energy Storage Solution for the Behind-The-Meter Energy Storage Market

DYNAPOWER AND SAMSUNG SDI LAUNCH INTEGRATED STORAGE SOLUTION

FOR THE BEHIND-THE-METER ENERGY STORAGE MARKET

South Burlington, Vermont – Dynapower Company and Samsung SDI announce the introduction of an integrated behind-the-meter energy storage system built on their respective proven technologies. The initial release of the system will be a 250kW/550 kWh offering, with a 100 kW two-hour system to follow

The integrated energy storage offering provides energy storage system vendors, project developers, and utilities with a fully engineered solution that reduces costs for commercial and industrial end users in the deployment of energy storage. This line of systems will incorporate Dynapower’s recently released Generation 2 MPS product line of behind-the-meter energy storage inverters and Samsung SDI’s recently released E2 battery solution.

The two companies share a wealth of field proven integration experience of their technologies across a wide range of ESS projects, sizes and applications including the Electrical Training Institue Net Zero Plus building microgrid and Duke Energy Notrees 36MW/14MWh ESS repower.

“We have worked alongside Samsung SDI for a number of years and are excited to take that collaborative effort to the next level with the introduction of an integrated energy storage solution,” said Adam M. Knudsen, President of Dynapower. “As the energy storage industry has rapidly evolved we have seen a clear demand from the market for engineered solutions that are flexible and proven. This is a solution customers can rely upon.”

“Together, Dynapower and Samsung SDI are well positioned to help expand market opportunities for our behind-the-meter storage customers by providing fully integrated engineering solutions,” said Fabrice Hudry Vice President Energy Storage Solutions at Samsung SDI “Samsung SDI is the world leader in Li-ion battery technology, and specifically for stationary energy storage application, and it is only fitting that we integrate our batteries with Dynapower’s leading inverter technology.”

Dynapower and Samsung SDI are launching their integrated behind-the-meter ESS offering with an immediate first deployment at the University of Minnesota, and are already working with several behind-the-meter ESS developers to deploy their unique integrated solution across the nation throughout 2017.

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In The News: Dynapower Capitalizes on Grid Energy Storage

 

Dynapower Capitalizes on Energy Storage

When Green Mountain Power became the first utility in New England to use solar energy stored in batteries to “shave” peak power demand from the grid — saving $200,000 in an hour — it was South Burlington’s Dynapower that made it possible.

Chip Palombini, sales manager for the Energy Storage Group at Dynapower Corporation, explains how the company uses a combination of renewable and battery-stored energy at the company’s headquarters in South Burlington on Monday, November 7, 2016. (Photo: GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS)

The electricity from batteries is direct current, or DC; the electricity from the grid is alternative current, or AC, explained Chip Palombini, Dynapower’s sales manager for the energy storage group. To put energy from its solar-charged batteries on Stafford Hill in Rutland into the grid on Aug. 12 to reduce demand for expensive peak power, GMP needed Dynapower’s “inverter” to make the connection from DC to AC.

“You need to put something between the wall outlet and the batteries,” Palombini said.

Dynapower has carved out a niche as a leading global supplier of the electronics to make this conversion from DC to AC, which came delivered in four parallel systems the size of shipping containers in the case of Green Mountain Power. Each can power 100 homes, Palombini said. Grid power storage is seen in power generation circles as the next big thing. As a result, a remarkable array of companies comes to Vermont to meet with Dynapower executives.

“You’ll see everyone from GE to Samsung, Panasonic and IBM, all come through the doors looking for our expertise,” said Richard Morin, a marketing specialist at Dynapower. “They traipse to Vermont for this little company with world renowned expertise.”

President Adam Knudsen said the best part is that Dynapower’s expertise is here to stay.

“If you look at the professional talent that … we’ve home-grown through our support of the University of Vermont and the technical colleges, it’s a great story,” Knudsen said. “Thirty-five percent of our engineering department graduated from the University of Vermont.”

The remaining percentage of Dynapower’s engineers who come from elsewhere can’t believe their luck, according to Knudsen.

“Some of our most senior power electronics people are global recruitments, but once they come in they don’t ever want to leave,” Knudsen said.

Dynapower Company President Adam Knudsen gives a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility in South Burlington on Monday, November 7, 2016. (Photo: GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS)

Taking on GE

Dynapower has about 200 employees in its 150,000-square-foot plant on Hinesburg Road with a wind turbine out front; a “bunch of mad Vermonters,” says Morin, who can not only engineer “these crazy things,” but also manufacture them in the back of the building.

Dynapower’s vertical integration — design and build — gives it an important advantage over the GEs of the world, according to Palombini.

“GE is a very large machine and they can do a lot of great stuff, but there’s a cost,” Palombini said. “With GE, customization is difficult. That’s what we do, custom installation.”

Customization like the system Dynapower built for the CuisinArt Resort and Spa on Anguilla in the Caribbean. Yes, the same Cuisinart that’s probably in your kitchen. The resort was burning an “astronomical” amount of expensive and smelly diesel fuel to desalinate salt water for drinking water, Palombini said.

When resort management explored the possibility of switching to solar power, the local utility wouldn’t let them connect solar to the grid. Dynapower came up with a solution.

“We delivered 20-foot shipping containers with the batteries and inverter in there,” Palombini said. “They built a solar array with one of our construction partners.”

Now, the CuisinArt resort can make up to 300,000 gallons a day of drinking water with self-contained solar power, independent of the grid. The job would have been easier with a grid connection like Green Mountain Power has, but the resort owner wanted to get the project done, and wrote a check for $600,000 to make it happen, according to Palombini.

“The great thing is it’s not just to make the golf course green,” Knudsen said. “It provides drinking water for the island. It’s a neat story about using technology to solve a real problem of grid dependency.”

From the Rust Belt to the Green Mountains

Dynapower began in Detroit in 1963, servicing the automotive industry with the electronics for metal finishing equipment such as the chrome-plating machinery for bumpers. In the 1980s, the founder’s son, Peter Pollock, came to the University of Vermont to study in the engineering department, met a girl and fell in love. Once he took over the business, Pollock decided to move the entire operation to Vermont.

“Peter’s father said, ‘You’re going to pick up a profitable Rust Belt business that serves the automotive industry and move it to Vermont? Are you crazy?'” Knudsen said.

Knudsen said if Dynapower had remained solely in its legacy business of chrome-plating bumpers, Pollock would have been crazy. Instead, the company branched into three additional areas: an energy storage group; a mining group; and a military group.

The mining group makes the equipment that separates metal from ore, using electricity.

“It’s a very similar process to chrome plating,” Palombini said. “You take the ore, pour liquid over it to create a sludge, pass a bunch of electricity through it, and now, instead of getting chrome out of solution onto a wheel, you’re getting copper particles out of a mud slurry solution onto some starter plates. All the copper particles are now separated from the dirt and rock.”

The military group makes frequency converters for missile defense systems, solving another diesel fuel-related problem.

Previously, defense systems ran off diesel generators because in the event of an attack, the electric grid is likely to be compromised, Palombini said. In forward operating areas, the cost of a delivered gallon of diesel fuel is hundreds of dollars, making the missile defense systems more expensive even than desalinating water on Anguilla.

“What our system does is enable them to connect to the grid and also to generators,” Palombini said. “If the grid goes down they can seamlessly transition to generators.”

Dynapower doesn’t release revenue figures, but Knudsen, 46, said annual revenue is in the tens of millions of dollars, and he plans to double that number by the end of 2018, pushing the company close to $100 million. Knudsen expects that growth to come from all of the areas the company works in, not just energy storage.

“It’s neat to have a role in building the power electronics that help the world optimize the use of energy, including renewable energy,” Knudsen said. “That’s just cool.”

This story appeared online on Nov. 22, 2016 @ BurlingtonFreePress.com. Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DanDambrosioVT.

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Solar-Plus-Storage Cost Drivers

Solar-Plus-Storage Cost Drivers

 

According to GTM Research, last year less than one-tenth of one percent of solar PV installations included battery storage. These stats may suggest that the market isn’t ready for storage yet, but the reality could not be more different.

Early visionaries and advocates for the solar-plus-storage combination have generated a high level of industry attention and activity. The result is that users looking to augment their PV systems for better performance and value are signing on as technologies improve and costs fall.

One reason for this heightened interest is the rapidly declining costs of not only batteries, but of the entire solar-plus-storage system. Balance of system (BOS) components are relatively mature and suppliers are leveraging advanced materials and efficiencies in production and supply chains to keep costs down. Energy storage inverters, including solar plus storage inverters, from Dynapower, for example, are third-generation technologies that, like many high-tech products, offer increasingly superior capabilities and performance at very competitive prices.

A closer look reveals that costs for storage-plus-solar systems are also driven by the applications they’re used for. In low C-rate (high-energy, longer-duration) applications, batteries dominate the cost, increasing total project cost. On the other hand, in high C-rate applications, such as frequency regulation, peak shaving and other services, the cost for batteries is relatively small in proportion to BOS, resulting in a lower cost system.

The high and low C-rate cost breakdown is illustrated here:

A bar chart comparing the costs of a 2C and 0.5C solar plus storage projects.

Comparison of solar plus storage project costs at 2C and 0.5C for microgrid and grid tied applications.

 

The variable in this equation is the energy storage integration/EMS software. Pricing for this system element varies based on the complexity of the job – and is relatively independent from project size.

The solar plus storage market is growing – but what’s driving it?

GTM Research reported that solar-plus-storage deployments totaled 4 MW (DC) in 2014, but are expected to grow more than six-fold to 22 MW in 2015. By 2020, solar-plus-storage installations are projected to reach an astonishing 769 MW – nearly 200 times last year’s total. California is expected to be the biggest solar-plus-storage market, with 422 MW installed in 2020 alone.

Some of this expansion will be driven (as it often is) by declining costs, but there are other factors. Changes to net metering rate structures, for example, can tilt the market toward storage deployment for self-consumption of PV. For example, Hawaii, which has the highest percentage of PV on the grid in the country, recently overhauled its net metering policy to encourage self-consumption. This will, without a doubt, drive energy storage deployment.

Looking ahead, PV users will likely be able to offer a stack of services to the grid, such as frequency response, voltage support, and distribution upgrade deferral. A recent report from the Rocky Mountain Institute makes the case that the revenue associated with these additional services could further improve the economics of PV systems paired with smart controls and batteries.

Other factors helping to boost demand and lower costs are the growing emphasis on grid resiliency for energy security and independence, and the proven value of storage in smoothing intermittent renewable resources like PV (and wind).

Many observers have said that energy storage is where PV was six or seven years ago, and believe that the factors that brought PV to mass affordability will have a similar effect on storage. What do you think is the reason for market growth and lower costs?

John Palombini No Comments

Dynapower to Supply Energy Storage Inverters for Tesla Powerpack

Dynapower to Supply Energy Storage Inverters for Tesla Powerpack

Dynapower Company, the global leader in energy storage inverters, announced that it will be supplying the 250 kW energy storage inverters as an integral part of Tesla’s recently announced Powerpack Commercial battery systems for large commercial and utility customers.

The Dynapower MPS™-250 inverter is a UL-listed, field-proven product with outstanding performance history. Tesla selected the Dynapower system based on the company’s technology, track record, and long-term viability.

“Dynapower leads the energy storage inverter market in reliability and efficiency, which together create premium value for our customers. It’s this value that has enabled us to deploy a market-defining 200 megawatts of energy storage inverters,” said Adam Knudsen, Dynapower President. “For Tesla, we customized the MPS™-250’s performance characteristics to provide an optimized system for their demanding market requirements. The combination of proven technology, enhanced by design flexibility is what we provide to every Dynapower customer.”

Tesla’s Powerpack systems are designed for large commercial, industrial, and utility-scale applications. Multiple 100 kWh DC battery blocks are grouped to scale from 500 kWh to 10 MWh+. These systems are capable of 2-hour, 3-hour or 4-hour continuous net discharge power using grid-tied bi-directional inverters, such as the Dynapower MPS systems. Powerpack systems support various storage applications, including peak shaving, load shifting and demand response for commercial customers, while offering renewable energy firming and a variety of other services for utilities.

More information about the Dynapower MPS™-250 inverter for use with the Tesla Powerpack is available here.

About Dynapower Energy Storage Inverters

Dynapower’s four-quadrant bi-directional energy storage inverter systems utilize advanced digital controllers for management of real and reactive power, system monitoring, and protection. The company’s MPS™, CPS™ and PowerSkid™ product lines are IEEE and UL1741 compliant; offer sub-cycle response with zero voltage ride-through; and can be can be operated in both grid-tied or stand-alone (grid forming) modes. Dynapower inverters are deployed globally as grid-tied energy storage inverters and as micro-grid inverters, enabling increased penetration of renewable generation resources.

About Dynapower Company LLC

Dynapower is a global leader in the design and manufacture of standard and custom power conversion equipment including high-power rectifiers, bi-directional inverters, control systems and transformers for use in energy storage, industrial, mining, military and research applications. With more than 50 years of experience providing power electronics solutions to a global customer base, Dynapower’s product range includes discrete power electronics and fully integrated systems ranging from 100 kilowatts to 50 megawatts. More than 200 MW of the company’s high reliability, bi-directional inverters have been deployed in energy storage systems worldwide. For more information, visit: www.DynapowerEnergy.com.

Media contacts:

For Dynapower
Richard Morin
Marketing Specialist
[email protected]

For Tesla
Khobi Brooklyn
Director, Global Communications
[email protected]

John Palombini No Comments

Keller Electrical Industries, Inc. named an Authorized Service and Repair Facility for Dynapower

PHOENIX, ARIZONA, June 26, 2015 – Keller Electrical Industries, Inc. is excited to announce that we have been named to serve as an authorized repair and service facility for Dynapower Company LLC.

Dynapower Company is proud to celebrate over 50 years of providing power electronic solutions. Dynapower is a global leader in the design and manufacture of AC and DC power supplies, energy storage systems and custom transformers. Their product scope includes integrated systems from 10 kilowatts to 50 megawatts. Dynapower’s modern 150,000 sq/ft. facility in South Burlington, VT is vertically integrated with the capability to design, manufacture and test complete power systems including transformers of all types. Dynapower’s continued growth over the last 50 years is attributable to a firm commitment to research and development, continuous improvement, and innovative designs.  Their products and services include: Industrial Rectifiers, Switch-Mode Rectifiers, Energy Storage Inverters, High Power Rectifier Systems, Transformers, Controls, Spare Parts, and Technical Service & Support.

 Founded in 1982, Keller Electrical Industries, Inc. is a leading provider of industrial electrical motor repairs and service, custom motor control manufacturing and distributor of heavy duty motors and equipment.  Keller boasts a state-of-art facility which houses the Company’s corporate headquarters along with its manufacturing, repair, electrical engineering and design divisions, as well as a product distribution facility.  The 105,000 sq/ft. facility includes 270 KW of roof-top solar power generation that provides a significant portion of the Company’s energy consumption needs.  The facility includes the most modern and technologically advanced motor repair, manufacturing, production and testing equipment available in the world.  Keller’s team represent over 1,000 years of combined experience and have the training and skills needed to support today’s industry.

To put Dynapower to work for you, contact our Sales department, by phone: 602-437-3015 or by e-mail: [email protected] to coordinate and schedule service or repair.

Keller Electrical Industries, Inc. is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and provides services throughout the state and southwest including California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.  More information about the company is available at www.kellerelectrical.com.