Tucson-based Solon Corp. will team up with Tucson Electric Power Co. and the University of Arizona to build a solar-energy storage technology research site at the UA Science and Technology Park.
The Energy Storage Management Research and Testing site will be attached to a 1.6 megawatt solar plant, recently built by Solon for owner TEP at the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone. The UA's Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) will participate in the research project.
The site will help research the reliability and suitability of different energy storage technologies used with grid-tied photovoltaics. The aim is to provide utilities greater control of intermittent solar and wind resources, by using stored energy to generate power or stabilize voltage when photovoltaic panels aren’t producing, for example, at night or on cloudy days.
The project is an open design, allowing for different technologies to be added or replaced as advancements continue, the company said. Solon will design and install its proprietary data and control system and oversee the project.
The first phase of the project begins in August, when Solon and AzRISE plan to install a compressed-air energy storage system designed and constructed by UA faculty and students.
The project’s second phase will add a lithium-ion battery storage system this fall, followed by additional technologies in the third and fourth phases in the spring of 2012.