Combining PV and thermal storage
USA: A system combining thermal energy storage with solar photovoltaics for cold stores and supermarkets is launched at this week’s Hannover Fair.
The system, from Houston-based Viking Cold Solutions, uses phase-change material in conjunction with rooftop PVs to reduce electricity peak demand by up to 90%, the developers say.
“Solar has proven to be a low-cost, reliable, and green generation resource, but its intermittent nature has prevented its use for powering around the clock refrigeration,” said James Bell, CEO of Viking Cold Solutions.
“Until now, the missing piece has been cost-effective and reliable thermal energy storage. Our system enhances the usability of solar energy for cold storage operators, allowing them to store latent power within storage cells, to sustainably protect their products, while lowering operating energy costs.”
The technology is said to enable cold-storage facilities, supermarkets, and utilities to intelligently store and deploy PV generated power within refrigerators to delay their use of energy and to reduce energy costs. The patented Thermal Energy Storage Cells originate from a NASA approach to using phase-change material to absorb infiltrated heat so that products remain at their target temperatures. Viking Cold Solutions maintains that this environmentally friendly solution solves one of the largest challenges to solar energy utilisation by reducing renewable variability.
Rooftop solar combined with Viking Cold’s Solar Energy Storage derives multiple advantages for both businesses and grid operators across Europe.
The system provides the ability to store energy during the day and use it for refrigeration at night. It also enables peak load shedding or shifting at any time of day increasing potential savings.
The thermal backup also allows customers to maintain safe temperatures and preserve food quality during power outages or equipment failure, eliminating perishable food loss and reducing business interruption