Batteries put Scilly Isles on course for 40% bill cut

Can energy storage help the idyllic Scilly Isles have a greener electricity system? Pic: Animam.photography

Can energy storage help the idyllic Scilly Isles have a greener electricity system? Pic: Animamphotography.com

BY JASON DEIGN:

Isles of Scilly islanders on course for a 40% power bill cut by 2025 thanks to a battery project now underway, Moixa Energy has said.

The firm last month said it was installing batteries on the UK islands in the first stage of what it claimed was “a landmark programme that aims to transform the lives of islanders and provide a model for communities worldwide.”

The GBP£10.8m project, led by Hitachi Europe, will demonstrate how solar power, batteries, smart heating technologies and electric vehicles can support the island energy system and reduce bills for the community, Moixa said.

The low-carbon infrastructure is due to be installed by this autumn, according to a press release issued by the company.

It said a not-for-profit community interest company, the Isles of Scilly Community Venture, will sell power generated by the solar panels and recycle the income to reduce electricity bills for all islanders. 

Smart Energy Islands project

Scillonians, as the islanders are called, will get a special Isles of Scilly energy tariff this summer as part of the Smart Energy Islands (SEI) project, which is part-financed with £8.6m from the European Regional Development Fund.

Hitachi Europe will contribute more than £1.4m and the balance will come from Moixa Technology, PassivSystems and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

Moixa said SEI will lay the foundations for a wider Smart Islands programme, which by 2025 aims to meet 40% of energy demand through renewables and see 40% of vehicles be electric or low-carbon.

The programme is designed to transform the lives of the 2,200 islanders and pilot systems that can be replicated worldwide to help communities make a rapid transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy, Moixa said.

Currently, the Isles of Scilly, which are off the coast of Cornwall, southwest England, have no gas supply and rely heavily on imported fossil fuels and electricity. 

High fuel costs

High fuel costs and large numbers of homes with inefficient heating systems leave 15.5% of households fuel poor, one of the UK’s highest rates, according to Moixa.

In press materials, Chris Wright, the company’s chief technology officer, said SEI would “demonstrate the value of technologies that can benefit communities all over the world.

“The Isles will be a test-bed for batteries, electric vehicles and smart heating systems, showing how they can save money for households, enable more clean renewable power, and support efficient, cost-effective energy systems.”

Around 450kW of solar panels will be installed on the roofs of more than 70 council-owned homes, on the islands’ fire station, the recycling facility and desalination plant, and in a solar garden by the airport, subject to planning.

The panels will more than double the islands’ renewable capacity and save nearly 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. 

Smart batteries in homes

Moixa, meanwhile, will install a total 43.8kWh of smart batteries in homes and at each of the non-domestic sites.

Ten smart homes will pilot different mixes of low-carbon technologies, which will also include air-source heat pumps and smart water heaters.

Moixa and home energy services company PassivSystems have developed smart control systems to manage and optimise the batteries, heat pumps and water heaters for householders.

The systems will use artificial intelligence to learn about patterns of consumption and maximise savings. Moixa will also use an electric van and charging point to pilot a vehicle-to-grid system.

The batteries, smart heating devices and electric vehicle will integrate with an Internet of Things-enabled energy resource management platform, developed by Hitachi Europe, which is due to launch in November. 

Balancing supply and demand

It will be able to use them absorb or release power, helping to balance supply and demand.

The SEI project is the first is a series of interconnected projects delivered by the Smart Islands Partnership, made up of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, the Duchy of Cornwall, Hitachi Europe, the Islands’ Partnership and Tresco Estate.

Moixa has installed smart batteries in 1,000 UK homes, adding up to a combined capacity of more than 2MWh and nine million hours of use.

The company’s battery is a compact wall-mounted lithium ion phosphate system that requires no additional equipment and is AC-coupled, so it can take advantage of smart tariffs by importing electricity from the grid.

It has a 20-year lifespan and comes with an extendable 10-year guarantee.

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