Dive Brief:

  • GE Renewable Energy announced on April 15 that it reached an agreement with Helios Energy to develop two energy storage systems as part of the Lenox Solar/Energy Storage project in upstate New York. 
  • The hybrid system in Lenox, New York will be installed at the end of the year and is set to be commercially operational in the second quarter of 2020, according to a statement.
  • The solar+storage project is the latest development in General Electric’s ongoing restructuring of its renewable energy business.

Dive Insight:

The New York project is General Electric’s first hybrid solar+storage project since announcing its internal reorganization in late January.

Once completed, the project will provide the state with dispatchable renewable energy. The battery systems will store energy generated by the solar PV arrays during daylight hours, allowing the site to meet power requirements during other peak demand periods, according to a company statement. 

GE’s scope of work on the project includes the integration of two solar PV arrays with two energy storage systems, which are expected to store and generate 3 MW/12 MWh and 2 MW/8 MWh, respectively. The two storage systems will contain GE’s Reservoir technology, including inverter units, control systems and combiner boxes.

“Combining solar and storage together will enable lower costs as there is a more efficient use of existing transmission lines, joint infrastructures and grid connections, electrical and balance of plant synergies, and joint operations and maintenance cost savings,” Sebastien Duchamp, director of external affairs at GE Renewable Energy, told Utility Dive.

The hybrid system will use a direct DC coupled configuration, in which a single inverter and a single point of interconnection is shared by the solar array and the storage system. GE hopes this configuration will improve the system’s overall energy output while at the same time optimizing costs and reliability.

“The world is seeing an increased penetration of renewable generation, driven by the declining levelized cost of electricity (LCoE) of wind and solar,” Rob Morgan, Energy Storage CEO, GE Renewable Energy, said in a statement. “In addition, with the context of declining costs of battery storage, combining renewable energy generation sources together with storage will help unlock new revenue and value streams in the renewable hybrid industry and accelerate the energy transition to more renewables.”

An analysis released in March by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that the cost of electricity from batteries has decreased 76% since 2012. Within the past year, the LCOE for lithium-ion batteries has fallen 35% to $187/MWh, BNEF research showed.

Despite its aim to become a leader in the renewable energy sector, GE recently sold 650 MW of renewable energy capacity to Enel.

The assets were jointly owned by GE Capital’s Energy Financial Services and Enel Green Power North America Renewable Energy Partners. GE sold the generation to its joint venture partner for approximately $256 million, though the company said it has an enterprise value of around $900 million.

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