France is soliciting bids from private companies to provide up to 50 megawatt-hours of battery storage for its islands and offshore territories in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and for Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. More than 3,000,000 live on these islands.
Islands present special problems when it comes to electrical grids because they often operate independently of mainland power. This makes it harder to moderate the peaks and valleys in demand that occur every day. Combined, the projects are expected to cost €100 million (more than $100 million).
According to pv magazine, the specifications require the projects to include a minimum of 500 kWh of storage for every 1 MW of solar power. They must ensure that grid fed in matches demand loads. Furthermore, in “extreme cases,” they must be capable of “peak shaving” during periods of high electricity demand.
“The [RFP] contains special requirements for the forecast of time slots that are critical for the grid,” explains Thomas Hillg, founder of THEnergy, an electrical industry consulting organization. “Innovative factors are required of successful projects, they must comply with certain rules including forecasting requirements, and services such as helping to shave peak electricity demand.”
Out of the total of 50 megawatts planned, half will come from rooftop solar installations and the other half from ground-mounted systems, including those attached to shading for parking lots. The minimum size of a system must be 100 kilowatts.
The [RFP’s] objective, says the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, is to “deploy solar energy which is particularly adapted to island electrical systems.” Combining innovative storage technology solutions with PV, the installations will limit the consumption of electricity when demand is high, it added.
Furthermore, the application of innovative battery and PV configurations will allow these systems to both predict their power output and enhance the quality of the generated electricity. The new solar power will be especially suited for use by isolated island grids, enabling the overseas territories to achieve energy autonomy.