The energy company Eaton has put into operation a microgrid that supplies its factory and its campus in Wadeville, Gauteng, with used lithium-ion electric car batteries as a storage component.
The batteries come from Nissan Leaf electric vehicles Europe, and have left about 4.5 years of operation. The batteries are converted and integrated into Eaton's xStorage energy storage system, which also controls the variability of the power sources.
The 375 kVA microgrid consists of two connections to the Ekurhuleni network of the state energy utility Eskom, a 200 kW photovoltaic system on the roof, a backup generator and the storage system.
"The Microgrid demonstrates our commitment to developing sustainable access to energy in the region, increasing our resilience, providing greater levels of energy independence, supporting grid stability and reducing energy costs by as much as 40%," said Eaton Africa MD Seydou Kane .
Eaton Chairman and CEO Craig Arnold who addressed local Eaton staff prior to launch, talked about supporting the role the company wanted to play in communities and on the continent.
The microgrid built by the local staff (aside from the storage arrays that were assembled) At the Eaton factory in Casablanca (Morocco), the use of this technology in commercial and industrial applications is being specified, Kane agreed ,
"Microgrid technology is increasingly being seen as a solution to energy poverty, infrastructure aging and network reliability continue to be problems across the region, and improving network reliability will improve business continuity, minimize business losses and improve economic growth," he said ,
Eaton Africa Operations Manager Eugén Ranft emphasized the importance of the storage system used to manage the significant variability of the rooftop solar system and provide power until the generator goes into operation during a power outage
Eaton Africa Senior Technician Nico Archer demonstrated the use of the xStorage system when starting and adjusting the parameters of the microgrid to avoid using more than 50 kW from the public grid. The on-roof solar system, which was available in the two demonstrations between 40 kW and 180 kW, and the memory field made the difference to keep the total load of about 280 kW a day.
The company is burdening the storage system during low tariff periods, such as at night and in times when it generates more energy from its solar system than it needs, Ranft said.
"Memory is the heart of the system, Power Xpert Power Management System and architecture provide stability and resilience to our production facility, and Power Xpert combines hardware, software and communication elements to unify different power components into a unified system . "
The plant in Wadeville, which employs 400 people, produces solutions for energy management in industry and trade.