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Energy Northwest, partners bring solar-battery project online

November 17, 2020

by Ethan Howland
November 17, 2020

Energy Northwest and its partners started operating Washington State’s first utility scale solar-plus-battery project.

The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage and Training Project, which includes 4 megawatts of solar and a 1-MW/4-megawatt-hours vanadium flow battery, came online this month.

The City of Richland, Wash., where the project is located, will buy electricity from the project.

Excess electricity from the solar panels will be stored by the battery system for later use, according to Energy Northwest, a joint action agency serving public power utilities with 1.5 million customers.

The battery storage component will help smooth the project’s solar output, support energy time shifting with peak demand reduction, offer demand side management options, and provide voltage and var support, according to the project’s developers.

Tucci Energy Services, a Seattle-based company, owns and operates the solar portion of the poject. Energy Northwest owns and operates the battery storage system.

This project will provide clean and reliable power to families in this community while showcasing the role utility-scale solar and battery projects can play in our statewide energy strategy moving forward,” said Mary Tucci, Tucci Energy Services chief operating officer.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the University of Washingtons Clean Energy Institute will monitor and analyze data from the project to evaluate the financial benefits of incorporating battery energy storage, Energy Northwest said.

The information will be used to improve battery designs and develop tools for incorporating intermittent renewables onto the grid more reliably and economically, according to Energy Northwest.

The facility also houses a training program for solar and battery storage technicians. The program will be run and managed by Potelco Inc., an electric utility contracting firm based in Sumner, Wash.

Energy Northwest expects hundreds of workers from across the United States will use the training facility a year.

The roughly $6.5 million project received a $3 million grant from Washingtons Clean Energy Fund. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77, which owns and leases the land where the project is located, worked with Energy Northwest and Potelco since 2015 to develop the project.