Duke Energy, USF Launch Solar Battery Research Initiative

May 22, 2015 By Karen Henry

duke energy USF solar array Energy ManageDuke Energy Florida and the University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg have launched a solar battery project aimed at exploring better ways to store solar energy. Funded by a $1 million grant from Duke Energy, the solar battery project is already underway with the installation of a solar PV system on the top of the university’s 5th Avenue South parking garage.

The 100-kW solar array measures about 7,100 square feet and has 318 individual panels. It is a freestanding canopy with space beneath for parking.

The new larger energy storage system operates in conjunction with two smaller existing USF energy storage systems. This creates an opportunity to build upon existing battery technology while advancing clean energy.

Solar energy that is not used by the garage for lights, elevators and electric-vehicle charging stations is stored in battery systems or put onto the electric grid for immediate use. High-resolution data is being collected on the PV installation and on the energy storage system, which is displayed on an online dashboard and several kiosks on campus.

USF St. Petersburg has an existing 2.0-kW solar energy system located at its Central Facilities Plant that was constructed in partnership with Duke Energy and the USF Tampa School of Engineering. The university has another solar panel array that provides power for decorative lights on campus.

Photo courtesy of Duke Energy.

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