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UK to get industrial-scale battery

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A £1M battery is to be built to store solar energy in the UK.

Hertfordshire-based Renewable Energy Systems will construct and install the system at a solar farm at Copley Wood in Somerset.

The initiative – led by British Solar Renewables and Western Power Distribution – is scheduled for completion by 2018.

Western Power Distribution innovation and low carbon networks engineer Jenny Woodruff said: Finding an economical way to store renewable energy will provide security of energy supply from renewable sources.

“It will ensure renewables aren’t wasted, as in this case it will allow solar energy to be stored and accessed when required.”

The 1.5MW solar farm where the battery will be installed is run by British Solar Renewables.

Steve Edwards, technical and strategy director at the firm, said: “British Solar Renewables is excited to be collaborating on this ground-breaking project by providing solar storage expertise and the site the battery will be operated from.

“Combining renewable energy and energy storage creates a compelling proposition of affordable, predictable, low-carbon energy, and we will be using the learning from this project to further develop our commercial offering.”

The Renewable Energy Association backed the plans.

Chief executive Nina Skorupska said 2016 would be “the year in which battery storage takes off in the UK”.

“The cost of more efficient batteries is rapidly declining,” she said. “Now the greatest barrier to growth is policy, and we look to the National Infrastructure Commission, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and HM Treasury particularly to see the serious potential in this area, as well as in other forms of energy storage.

“As members of the REA’s policy group, UK Energy Storage, Renewable Energy Systems and British Solar Renewables are working to swiftly place the UK as a global leader in this industry. This can be done if the government creates more clear definitions, standardises processes and maintains a stable framework.”

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