Florida Power & Light (FPL) Company has developed a new technologically advanced system that is believed to be the first such system to have an integrated battery technology with a large-scale solar power project with an excellent improvement in the overall energy output of the plant. The company plans to incorporate the new technology into its Citrus Solar Energy Center that was established in 2016 and bring an increase in the amount of solar power deliverable to the grid by over half a million kilowatt-hours per year.
The new system has a massive storage capacity of 4,000-kilowatt/16,000-kilowatt-hour and is comprised of several batteries that are integrated into the operations of the above mentioned power plant. In addition to increasing the output of the solar power, the system is also capable of storing the surplus energy and feeding it into the grid later on.
The technology has the potential of extracting millions of KW-hours of energy every year that would otherwise be lost and also lead to an improvement in the likelihood of garnering usable solar energy, which keeps fluctuating with the availability of sun and sunlight. This increase in predictability regarding solar power enables the company to deal with other power plants more efficiently, thus helping the consumers save on fuel costs.
This conjunction of solar power and batteries is the first such large-scale application of DC-coupled solar storage systems at a U.S.-based solar power plant. While most of the benefits of the new system are similar to other solar storage installations, one of the unique advantages of the system is its ability to use the extra energy that is generated by solar plants when the sunlight is the strongest.
During these times of optimal sunlight, a solar plant may produce energy that is much more than what the inverters can process, leading to the loss of some energy. Thus unlike other forms of batteries, solar systems that are DC-coupled can gather the extra energy that is otherwise lost and lead to an increase in the amount of actual energy that a plant is capable of delivering to the grid.