Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PVPS Report Summary

Project ID: 672145

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PVPS (Powerstar Virtual Power Station (PVPS) solution - Powerstar Virtue)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

1.1 Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project
Powerstar Virtue aims to pilot-test an integrated smart grid solution based on the Powerstar system design with storage mediums and renewable energy sources. This new solution will open up significant new market opportunities for the company in the European and international markets. The Powerstar Virtual Power Station (PVPS) solution to be pilot-tested under this project will ensure the long term expansion of the company's market opportunities and will enhance the current EU plans for Smart Grid applications. The pilot will evaluate and demonstrate the benefits of the PVPS solution at a commercial site in a live operational environment (ASDA - Swindon Haydon Superstore). This will ensure that the user (ASDA) and the DSOs (National Grid through E.On) have a clear understanding of the value of the PVPS solution. Such a live demonstration will open up the market opportunity for the full commercialization of the PVPS solution

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

M1 – M3 (July 2015 – September 2015)

The work performed by EMSc (UK) Ltd, between M1 to the end of M3 is summarized by the following bullet points:

• In depth lessons learnt from the recently analysed and assessed small PVPS solution and how this
will affect the implementation of the larger scale unit.
• Understanding of the functional requirements.
• Pre – sight surveys and
• Preliminary design work.
• Preliminary discussions with installers and DNO’s (DSO’s).

M4 – M7 (October 2015 – December 2015)

The work performed by EMSc (UK) Ltd between M4 to the end of M7 is summarized by the following bullet points:

• Technical team visit to battery and BMS manufacturers in China, to finalise battery layout design and integration with Powerstar transformer.
• Re – location of project to new Superstore, due to current issues at current site.
• Finalisation of functional requirements.
• Final battery container design.
• Back up suppliers for the 1MVA PCS (Power Converter System), due to poor availability of current supplier.

M7 - M15 Work Package 2 – Deployment, testing and optimizing of PVPS Solution

Outstanding deliverables from previous reporting period (all shown on the R&D GANTT chart):

- Confirmation of PVPS Installation site-

- SCADA Development with software partners for remote control and access

- Finalised full system design

- Approvals for the project by the DNO and the local council

- ENA (Energy Network Association) application form for SSE.

- Container Specification and Design

- Design and manufacture of step down transformers

- G59/3 relay and cabinet assembly

- Hardware layout within containers

- Arrival of imported hardware

- Battery container integration

- Power container integration

M7 -M15 Work Package 4 – Development and Commercialisation Plan

Assessment of Market Dynamics
The company has continued to monitor the market dynamics of the ‘Virtue Power Plant Market’, a summary of the findings is given in Part B of teh Periodic report.

M7 -M15 Work Package 5 – Communication and Dissemination Activities
The marketing department under the leadership of Nick Lee, the work package leader of WP5 has been continually seeking to communicate the progress and potential of the PVPS solution in the UK Market and beyond. This has been achieved via a combination of Newsletters, Events, conferences and feature articles.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

1.3 Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio – economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
Renewables Sector
The Feed in Tariff (export) was by far the largest driving force for companies and homeowners in the UK to install solar PV. Initially the FIT was introduced to subsidise solar panels due to their initial high cost, to encourage homeowners and business leaders to reach their Renewable obligations, to reduce the dependency on the grid and consequently fossil fuels. Once the government deemed that solar PV had reached the point where the industry did not need subsidy (January 2016), the FIT was largely removed. However, although the price of solar panels is considerably cheaper since 2009/2010 (approximately 75%), paybacks are still very high (in comparison to LEDs, VFDs, voltage optimisations e.t.c) and the solar industry has seen a large decline in sales. The results of the ASDA site pre – pilot, was seen publicly and many solar companies that were struggling as a result of the new government FIT cuts, have approached EMSc (UK) Ltd, regarding solar projects with storage. Many now believe that the only way that PV can survive these cuts is to combine storage and solar projects into one overall project. This will hugely increase the revenues obtained from solar, but also allow flexibility and efficiency of use, increasing the use of non – fossil fuel generation.

Energy Storage
Although storage technologies are seemingly ubiquitous throughout the world, very few have actually been implemented in the commercial sector, offering paybacks below 6 years. The Virtue system is one of the first commercial systems in the UK market that has been able to demonstrate the aforementioned, showing that storage is now feasible not just for the sake of utility, but also as a means for generating revenue and increasing the effectiveness of renewable systems.

The government have released numerous reports and studies, resulting in huge market awareness. One report written by Frontier Economics on behalf of the UK government, states the following:
“Both grid-level storage and enhanced automated voltage control might offer significant potential for load shifting and reduction respectively. The latter technology in particular is not frequently considered existing literature (perhaps because it does not fit neatly into the categories of “generation”, “DSR”, and “storage”). It may be worthwhile further investigating the costs and capabilities of these systems (for example, incorporating the results of trials into DECC’s modelling as they become available)”
This excerpt shows that not only is there demand for storage, but also for voltage optimisation, which is an integral part of the Virtue system, and in effect is what separates the PVPS solution from any other competing solutions.
2016 has seen the introduction of Demand-Side Response (DSR), a new technology that uses the flexibility of electricity consumers to help balance supply and demand, turning down load or turning up small generators when power stations fail or when demand spikes unexpectedly. DSR can keep the lights on with less pollution and at lower cost than fossil-fuelled power stations.

The results from the pre – cursor to the PVPS solution were seen as compelling from ASDA supermarkets, and as well as ASDA agreeing to be the host 3rd party member to the PVPS solution, the company is also looking to rollout the Virtue solution throughout its supermarkets and Distribution Centres. Many companies are now looking to the PVPS solution as a “green” UPS, with considerable interests from some very large data centre operators, looking to swap out old, poor performing lead acid based systems.

Related information

Record Number: 190193 / Last updated on: 2016-11-09
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