The first major battery storage system of its kind in the UK is up and running in Somerset – storing energy provided by a 1.5MW solar park which can be used across the local electricity network.

The £1 million initiative of ours at Copley Wood near Butleigh is designed to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of directly linking a large battery storage facility with a solar park and a local electricity network.
Jenny Woodruff, WPD Innovation and Low Carbon Network Engineer explained: “One of the challenges facing the renewables sector is storing the energy generated so that it’s available when needed.
“As an industry we need to explore secure and reliable solutions which are commercially feasible and ultimately lead to improved access to the grid. Any solutions put forward must be with minimal costs to customers.”
Funded through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, the initiative, which will run for a year, sees us working in partnership with British Solar Renewables and the National Solar Centre.
During that time, remote communications equipment will conduct a variety of tests to monitor how efficiently the battery operates, if its shelf life is reduced and therefore its value, and to what degree batteries have, if any, on power quality.
The project will also assess any seasonal variations and the financial case for installing batteries at solar parks and the various ways this can be managed. Current considerations include network operators purchasing and installing batteries themselves or contracting this out to a third party.
“It is fair to say we are in unchartered territory for WPD and the industry, but we should not underestimate how the outputs from this project could play a significant role in the industry as we move towards a low carbon future across the UK,” said Jenny.