N° 20-10 Sol-ion, Europe’s largest PV energy conversion and storage project, moves into field trial phase • Close collaboration between industrial partners Saft, Voltwerk and Tenesol has resulted in the successful development of a prototype integrated energy kit suitable for production on an industrial scale • EU-backed project is now moving into field trial phase with 75 Sol-ion energy kits being deployed in France and Germany from mid-2010 onwards Munich, June 10, 2010 – Saft, Voltwerk and Tenesol, industrial partners in the EU-backed Sol-ion project, have successfully completed the development phase by creating an integrated energy conversion and storage kit, capable of production on an industrial scale, for decentralized on-grid, residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The project, which commenced in August 2008, is now moving into its test and evaluation phase. This involves the deployment of 75 Sol-ion energy kits for field trials across France and Germany. The Sol-ion trials will see Li-ion (lithium-ion) batteries used in PV systems on the largest scale ever tested in Europe. The trials will be used to assess the performance of the technology, its economic viability, the added value of energy storage in an on-grid system and the benefits to stakeholders. ‘The key to the success of the Sol-ion project is the way that all the individual partners, both from industry and from the research institutes, have come together in close collaboration to function as a seamless team. So rather than each partner providing a separate element – batteries, energy conversion and system management – and then bringing them together, we have focused right from the very start on the delivery of a comprehensive, fully-integrated, optimized solution’ says Michael Lippert, Marketing Manager of Saft’s Energy Storage activities. ‘We are very excited to be moving into the field trial phase as this will provide invaluable practical experience and feedback that will help refine our approach as we move a step closer towards making PV energy storage kits commercially available.’ Time-shifting Currently, the majority of grid-connected PV systems do not include energy storage and the electricity produced is fed into the grid directly, in real time. The advantage of the Sol-ion energy conversion and storage concept is that solar energy can be ‘time-shifted’ to periods of peak demand or when there is no sun, allowing self-consumption or grid support. The field trials will demonstrate the benefits to the environment and to stakeholders of storing PV energy. One key benefit will be to reduce the impact of intermittent injection to power grids, thus allowing a higher penetration of PV energy in the electricity mix. Sol-ion kit The Sol-ion kit has been developed to accommodate PV energy production of 5 kWp (peak) with a battery rated from 5 to 15 kWh and a nominal voltage of 170 V to 350 V. Li-ion is the only technology that meets the project’s need for 20-year battery life in demanding environmental conditions. The energy conversion and system management systems are designed to handle four system functions: multidirectional energy flows; self-consumption; grid support; back-up. They are also intended to handle requirements for demand side management such as control over storage and loads using smart metering, and integration within future smart grids that will need to handle demand response and dynamic pricing. The Sol-ion battery is based on Saft’s high energy Li-ion modules, with a nominal voltage of 48 V and 2.2 kWh capacity. These compact, maintenance-free modules feature an advanced and robust industrial design, and they can easily be connected in series or parallel to create the desired voltage and capacity for each installation. Saft’s Li-ion technology has already proven an impressive 97% energy efficiency in a recent 2 years field demonstration in residential PV systems in Guadeloupe. Partners Saft’s technology partners in the Sol-ion project are leading PV systems providers and integrators: Germany’s Voltwerk has installed over 70,000 PV systems; France’s Tenesol supplies integrated PV systems and also manufactures solar panels. E-ON, the German utility, three German research institutes (ISEA, Fraunhofer IWES and ZSW) and INES-CEA, the French research institute, are also associated with this project. Sol-ion has been recognized by the EU/Eureka/Eurogia programme and has the support of the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment and the German Ministry of Environment. About Saft Saft (Euronext: Saft) is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry. Saft batteries are used in high performance applications, such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defence. Saft is the world’s leading manufacturer of nickel batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets. The group is also the European leader for specialised advanced technologies for the defence and space industries and world leader in lithium-ion satellite batteries. Saft is also delivering its lithium-ion technology to the emerging applications of clean vehicles and renewable energy storage. With approximately 4,000 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 18 countries. Its 15 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide. Saft is listed in the SBF 120 index on the Paris Stock Market. For more information, visit Saft at www.saftbatteries.com About Voltwerk electronics GmbH Voltwerk electronics GmbH is an internationally successful manufacturer of string and central inverters, tracking systems and facility monitoring systems. All its products are developed and manufactured in Germany. Voltwerk‘s award-winning products have been installed worldwide in systems with a total of more than 500 MW of generating capacity. Voltwerk is a provider of innovative solutions and pioneering methods for highly efficient photovoltaic systems. Voltwerk’s success is based on precise knowledge of the markets and intensive collaboration with customers and engineering teams across the world. Voltwerk is represented in Bad Vilbel and Hamburg and has sales and service support in all the major European markets. Voltwerk electronics GmbH currently has nearly 100 employees. For more information visit Voltwerk at www.voltwerk.com. About Tenesol A rapidly expanding global player in the field of solar energy (with a turnover of €249 million in 2009, +29%), Tenesol works on behalf of businesses, local authorities and private individuals. For more than 26 years, Tenesol has been engineering, designing, manufacturing, installing and managing solar energy systems including production and consumption of supplied systems (Off-grid sites, general grid supply via direct connection, solar water heating) for its customers around the globe. A benchmark player in its sector, Tenesol currently has a staff of over 1,000 employees across 20 subsidiaries including 2 production facilities. For more information visit Tenesol at www.tenesol.com. ### Press contacts Jill Ledger, Saft Communications Director, Tel: + 33 1 49 93 17 77 e-mail: email@example.com Marie-Christine Guihéneuf, Saft IBG Communication Manager, Tel: + 33 1 49 93 17 16 e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Bartlett, Six Degrees, Tel: + 44 (0) 1628 480280 e-mail: email@example.comBACKGROUND INFORMATION The role of each partner Saft Saft is responsible for the design and manufacture of the energy storage system. The battery is based on Li-ion battery modules connected in series to obtain the energy and voltage required by the application. This concept provides a high level of modularity offering a wide energy window without additional development. Each module includes an electronic board for data acquisition (voltage, temperature, ..) and cell balancing in order to optimise the battery life time and to allow charge/discharge control, state of charge measurement, etc. This electronic board is connected to the system management function that controls the battery. The interfaces have been developed in cooperation with Tenesol and Voltwerk. Saft is delivering the batteries both to Voltwerk and Tenesol. These two PV system integrators will produce the other components and will assembly the Sol-ion kits (battery + inverter + system management). Voltwerk and Tenesol With their extensive knowledge in the production of inverters, Voltwerk and Tenesol have specified and developed the inverter and the energy management system to meet the customers’ requirements. The system design allows the inverter to either feed the electrical power into the public grid or store it in the battery for later use. Voltwerk is producing and installing 25 systems in Germany. Tenesol will produce and install 50 systems in various demonstration sites in mainland France and overseas departments. Finally, field test demonstration supervision and data acquisition will be carried out for system monitoring and future system improvements E-ON E-on is providing access to its network in Germany and is contributing to the development of the system’s interface with the network. Research institutes These organisations are responsible for modelling the system and its impact on the network, and for the analysis and utilisation of the test results. Organisations involved in the project Partner Core business Saft – Project coordinator Batteries Voltwerk Renewable energy products integrator Tenesol PV systems integrator E-ON Utility Fraunhofer IWES Research Institute ZSW Research Institute ISEA Research Institute INES-CEA Research Institute All the partners have confirmed their strong interest in the development of grid connected PV systems, associated with a storage function and recognize that this concept offers new business and market perspectives. The role of energy storage in renewable energy systems Example of residential PV system with energy storage PV installations with a permanent connection to the electricity grid are categorised as ‘on-grid’ applications. This is the most popular type of solar PV system for homes and businesses in the developed world. PV can be installed on top of a roof or integrated into the roofs and facades of houses, offices and public buildings. An inverter is used to convert the DC power produced to AC power for running normal electrical equipment. Private houses are a major growth area for roof systems as well as for Building Integrated PV (BIPV). A typical 5 kWp panel in southern Germany delivers approximately 5,000 kWh/year – sufficient to supply nearly all the annual electricity needs of an energy conscious household. Connection to the local electricity network allows any excess power produced to be sold at peak hours to the utility. Electricity is then imported from the network outside daylight hours. The role of energy storage in an on-grid application is to store excess PV energy until it is needed. Effectively, energy storage will ‘time-shift’ PV energy produced during the day, peaking at noon, to make it available on demand. This will both maximise local consumption and enhance the efficiency of the PV system. Surplus energy can also be fed back into the grid, for which the owner of the PV system would be remunerated at a higher tariff. Energy storage will also increase security of supply while making individual consumers less dependant on the grid. It will also help to boost the development of energy self-sufficient houses and buildings and contribute to the continuous growth of PV as part of the global energy mix. The main benefit of on-grid energy storage for utilities is that it will reduce the peak load on their grid while at the same time making PV a source of predictable, dispatchable power that they can call on when needed. Reduced grid losses, i.e. the energy lost by transporting power from a centralised generator to the point of use, will result in some energy savings. Savings due to reduced consumption in PV powered households are anticipated to be 10 to 20 per cent. Rationale for on-grid energy storage Household The change in emphasis for on-grid PV production has created an increasingly sound rationale for energy storage that maximises local consumption by time-shifting PV power from the peak production to the evening, when it is most needed. Furthermore, the more of its own-produced power that the household uses, then the more independent it becomes from the grid and the more secure its supply. Energy storage will also enhance the efficiency of PV production and will play a role in improving power quality and power ability. Any surplus energy can also be injected into the grid for which the household will be paid at a high tariff. Utility The utility will also benefit from its consumers having energy storage since this will reduce peak loads on the grid. It will also enable it to make use of PV as a predictable, dispatchable, form of power. The utility will be able to call on this stored energy at periods of high demand. Yet at periods of peak production and low demand, the utility will not have to accept the excess power, and this will avoid any potential overloads on the grid. Socio-economic impacts Energy storage could offer a number of socio-economic benefits. Mainly, it will help to stimulate the continuous growth of PV as part of the overall energy mix. It will also help to reduce grid losses and encourage reduced consumption in PV households.