The SoLa Bristol project explored an innovative combination of energy storage in customers premises, coupled with new variable tariffs and integrated network control to overcome generation or load related constraints at key times of the day. It explored the use of Direct Current (DC) power in customer premises in conjunction with battery storage shared virtually between the DNO and customer, providing benefits to both parties. Through batteries, the LV network was operated more actively with additional capacity to manage peak load, control voltage rise and reduce system harmonics.
The techniques trialled , through reduction in constraints and need for network reinforcement, facilitated the connection of low carbon devices at reduced cost at more than 30 locations in a range of premise types including homes, schools and a business.
The project tested the following hypotheses:
- Should new Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) increase distribution network peaks and cause thermal overloads, then battery storage, demand response and DC networks could be an efficient solution, conventional network reinforcement for short thermal overloads may not the most efficient use of customers money
- If DC networks in properties could be used to reduce network harmonics, phase distortion and improve voltage control then their use may be vital in the connection of LCTs. Because the safe, efficient operation of distribution networks is reliant on the power quality and voltage being within statutory limits
- If DNOs and customers could share battery storage on DC networks with a variable tariff, then the mutual benefits may make battery storage financially viable, as battery storage could be a shared asset or sold to customers as a service.