“New technologies and designs aimed at driving down the cost of energy storage facilities are currently the focus of intense industry R&D. Sara Verbruggen reports on DC coupling, an emerging system architecture that many believe will soon become the industry standard, in a paper which first appeared in PV Tech Power’s Energy Storage Special Report 2019.
As the costs of solar PV modules continue to reduce, and those of batteries follow a similar downward trajectory, solar-plus-storage is in growing demand among utilities and solar developers.
The US is leading the trend, where these types of clean energy power stations are starting to produce electricity competitively with gas peaking plants, especially when other revenue streams from grid services are factored in.
To further push down the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) of solar-plus-storage and maximise the amount of megawatt hours (MWh) of solar-generated electricity that can be fed into the grid, energy suppliers and developers are turning to direct current (DC) coupling these installations.
Compared with alternating current (AC) coupling, DC coupling the PV array and the battery storage system in front-of-meter installations, such as utility-scale plants, is a much newer, less standardised approach. This had led some US utilities to begin piloting these configurations to see how the technology performs. On the supply chain side, balance of plant (BoP) equipment manufacturers are delivering more standardised and simpler to use power electronics equipment for enabling DC-coupled plants.”
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Verbruggen, Sara. Energy Storage News 9 October 2019.