NORTH AMERICA currently has tens of gigawatts of installed utility-scale PV generation with many more gigawatts under construction. Utility-scale solar will only reach its fullest financial and energy generating potential with the addition of energy storage, however. The majority of utility-scale PV base could expand energy production and increase revenues with the addition of energy storage. Choosing the right topology is critical to maximizing the impact of coupling energy storage with utility-scale solar installations.
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.