UKPN and Powervault combine to create ‘virtual power plant’ in Barnet from PV and batteries

Powervault and UK Power Networks are to install a fleet of 40 domestic batteries in the London Borough of Barnet so they can be used to store energy generated from solar panels and use them to support the local grid. The new flexibility contract is the first time in London that people with solar panels and battery storage installed at home will be paid to support the distribution network

On days when there is high demand for electricity, UK Power Networks will be able to instruct the batteries, through battery manufacturer and energy aggregator Powervault, to discharge in unison to relieve pressure on the electricity network at peak times. Residents will receive a payment when their batteries discharge.  

The batteries will be remotely controlled to combine the output from domestic solar panels and ensure they are fully charged and ready for the weekday evening peak demand.

Barry Hatton, director of asset management at UK Power Networks said: “”Projects like this are just the start as we move towards a decarbonised, decentralised and digitised network that will offer significant benefits to our customers. It will help to keep down electricity distribution costs by providing a viable alternative to the traditional approach of simply adding more cables and substations to increase capacity.”

The agreement follows a successful trial of the technology with UK Power Networks in February 2018. During the trial, 45 Powervault batteries installed in customer homes were remotely controlled to minimise consumption during evening peak hours. On average, household evening demand was reduced by 60%.

Joe Warren, managing director of Powervault, said: “This is a really exciting development for our business, and we’re delighted UK Power Networks has chosen to work with us. A payment for supporting the local networks, on top of the savings from solar and time-of-use tariffs, will enhance the business case for our customers, moving us a step closer to our goal of delivering a mass-market product as commonplace as a dishwasher.”

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