In 2013, a major solar farm was installed in Texas. OCI Solar Power decided to look at incorporating energy storage into the mix, and turned to Younicos to launch its first energy storage initiative. The customer wanted to install the storage system alongside its solar farm, taking advantage of existing equipment and interconnection facilities. To preserve the versatility of the system, it was important to select a chemistry that could reliably participate in the markets for energy storage today, namely Fast-Frequency-Regulation-Service (FRRS). The team selected the LG Chem JP1 batteries.
Performance, reliability, and ease of installation and maintenance were key considerations for the project team. Younicos’ compact Y.Cube solution was the ideal system to meet all requirements. Two 3 x 3 m Y.Cube enclosures were installed side by-side on a 90-square-meter concrete slab next to the solar farm control house, and tied into the existing 34.5 kV bus. Both Y.Cubes, along with the transformer and other electrical equipment, were all installed by a single forklift in a cost-effective and speedy installation. Each Y.Cube enclosure contains the LG Chem battery racks, two Y.Converters 250, Younicos’ proprietary power electronics solution, along with HVAC, fire suppression and auxiliary load equipment, all managed by the Younicos control platform. The unique configurability of the Y.Cube solution, which allows users to build a system with more granularity than offered by standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ 40-foot containers, enabled the customer to optimize both the operational size and footprint of the storage system.
A number of product features within the Y.Cube helped to improve the overall investment case: a thermal management system in each Y.Cube minimizes parasitic loss and battery degradation by maintaining battery temperatures within more consistent limits than in a conventional 40-foot container, hence reducing operating costs and extending battery life; the addition of a distribution panel connecting the four converter units enables individual units to be isolated if necessary, while the other units continue to operate and the compact size of the system provides very easy access for performing any manual checks or maintenance. In real-time operation, the Y.Cube is guided by a web-based Battery Temperature user interface. This secure, multi-user interface was developed based on our experience in energy storage operations in Texas. It is programmed to enable multiple services, while complying with all ERCOT reporting and second-by-second telemetry requirements. Following final commissioning of the Y.Cube in Q2 2016, this system is ready to track and report on system performance in today’s market, while providing its user the flexibility to incorporate future services in years to come.
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