The acquisition of the backup power supply will not only bring financial savings and system modernisation but will also enable VEC to use solar energy in the future and be energy self-sufficient. In addition, the data gained from the use of the storage facility will also be useful for local employees when cooperating with commercial partners.
Battery storage is used to store electricity which can be used during peak energy periods when there is increased consumption. For example, when the electric vehicles which are available at the research centre need to be recharged. "Such a situation is called Peak Shaving and allows the reduction of annual/monthly reserved capacity with the electricity distributor. In order to avoid having to reserve the increased quarter-hour peak power from the distributor, we use a backup battery in this very situation. The current set values are up to 100 kW drawn from the grid. Anything above 100kW is covered by the battery. We charge it at night when the power consumption is very low. The battery storage has a capacity of 500kWh and a 150kW inverter," explained Jakub Meca, VEC's lead electrical designer.
Another advantage of the backup power supply is that in the event of a voltage drop or power failure, the VEC buildings are automatically disconnected from the distribution network. "We become an island (off-grid) and are energy self-sufficient until the battery capacity is exhausted. In practice, this means that we should cover half a day's consumption in full, but we are also able to automatically switch off individual loads, thus reducing consumption and saving stored energy. The battery management system also constantly checks for the restoration of electricity supply and if it occurs, it automatically reconnects back to the distribution network," Meca added.
The kiosk backup power supply has completed a two-month trial run. During this time, experts tested a variety of situations. For example, they simulated power outages when the battery smoothly switches to island operation without the customer noticing, charging and discharging the battery at maximum power. They did not experience any problems during the test period.
"We also have a monitoring dispatch system at our disposal, thanks to which we monitor the storage and change the parameters if necessary. We can use the information we find not only to plan for the future use of the battery, but also when dealing with our clients. This gives us practical experience that we can use when preparing projects for our customers," added Meca.
While the backup power source currently uses electricity from the distribution grid to charge the battery, in the future the battery will be charged mainly by solar energy.