The project, which is being carried out jointly by EPB of Chattanooga and three US national laboratories, will assess the benefits and challenges of energy storage integration with electric utilities.

The UET ReFlex system will allow an islandable microgrid at the operations center of EPB, which serves the greater Chattanooga, Tennessee, area.

It will be integrated with EPB's 1 MW photovoltaic (PV) array and its advanced fiber communication network.

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) will offer analysis of the value streams, operational modes, and optimal utilization of the solar-plus-energy storage system.

The three labs will also provide technical evaluation of ramping services, islanding support, and future sizing for an additional 2MW of planned PV.

The project is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI), a comprehensive effort led by DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) to help shape the future of our nation's grid, including utilizing storage to integrate renewable and conventional energy sources into the grid.

The EPB project is one of four energy storage projects awarded by the GMI. The $2.5 million effort will commence this summer and continue for at least two years.

DOE OE's energy storage program manager Dr. Imre Gyuk said: "Cost-effective, reliable, and longer-lived energy storage is necessary to truly modernize the grid.

"As third-generation vanadium flow batteries gain market share, it is essential to increase our understanding of storage value and optimization to accelerate adoption of integrated storage and renewable energy solutions among utilities."

UET Global sales senior vice president Blake Frye said: "Our vanadium flow energy storage systems partner well with solar energy because of the long-life of the batteries and their ability to facilitate the integration of increasing renewable resources into the grid.

"By working together with a leading utility and national laboratories, we will develop metrics for evaluating renewable energy and storage integration and demonstrate the benefits of leading energy storage technology to our nation's grid modernization efforts."