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Saft is supplying a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery system to provide energy storage for one of the ‘Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems’ (Segis) projects funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Saft is working in collaboration with Apollo Solar, a company specialising in the design and manufacture of power electronics for solar-energy systems, which has just been awarded a contract for the second design-phase of Segis to deliver a working prototype of a less expensive, more efficient Smart Grid inverter.

The objective of the Segis programme, managed by Sandia National Laboratories, is to develop high-performance products that allow photovoltaics to become a more integral part of household and commercial smart-energy systems.

Apollo Solar has been selected by the DOE to design and develop a cost-competitive and more efficient Smart Grid inverter to enhance the value of solar electric systems to home and business users.

The innovative design will incorporate energy storage and two-way communications between solar electrical systems and utilities.

The role of the 10kWh Saft Li-ion battery system will be to provide efficient energy storage that will enable the solar energy to be effectively ‘time shifted’ to make it available for home consumption during periods of peak demand, or for injection into the grid when needed, either for support or when it will generate the most economic value.

Saft is already demonstrating this approach in SOL-ION, a Franco-German project dedicated to the development of a new concept in energy conversion and storage for grid connected photovoltaic (PV) systems in Europe.

John Pfeifer, chief executive officer of Apollo Solar, said: ‘The Segis programme aims to maximise the value of distributed solar electric generation, offer greater control of electricity consumption and its cost and to anticipate the emergence of future smart grids.

‘The inclusion of Li-ion energy storage and its capability for time-shifting was therefore a key success factor in our project proposal.’

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