US microgrid project combines solar and storage

May 28, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
SimpliPhi Power and Heila Technologies have created a microgrid that combines LFP battery storage with solar power, all managed as a single system
SimpliPhi Power and Heila Technologies have rolled out a microgrid that combines LFP battery storage with solar power, all managed as one virtual power plant

Battery maker SimpliPhi Power has rolled out a microgrid demonstration solar+storage project in the US with startup Heila Technologies that creates a virtual power plant.

The microgrid project, announced last October, combines 3.8kWh of SimpliPhi’s lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, solar inverters and a Heila EDGE controller which acts as a Battery Management System (BMS) and an Energy Management System (EMS). Any of the power resources controlled by a Heila EDGE in a system are then aggregated and optimized to form a distributed intelligent network that can be used by any central SCADA controller as a virtual power plant using common protocols.

The PHI batteries measure and report voltage, current and temperatures, and perform useful calculations to determine real-time battery state of charge (SoC), state of health (SoH) and fault detection. Heila is programmed to operate the PHI battery units in either grid-connected or off-grid mode, and manage transitions between modes, enabling full control of the flow of real and reactive power to and from the grid.

"Behind-the-meter energy storage is a cost-effective way to help utilities and customers alike manage their electricity usage with the security of knowing they have access to stored energy that can be seamlessly integrated into the grid or islanded during power outages," said Catherine Von Burg, CEO of SimpliPhi Power.  

The demonstration aggregates distributed energy resources so that the local energy company, SWEPco, can manage the systems as an optimized virtual power plant. Under a single platform, SWEPco will be able to use the storage+solar systems to correct power factor, perform peak shaving, and manage overall energy supply, all while improving customer resiliency.

"The Heila Platform is able to sense changes across all connected components and make the system holistically and automatically respond to the changing conditions of the electrical grid. With SimpliPhi, we have found a safe and high performing battery that is ready to be deployed at scale to

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