Founded in 2013, Wattstor is dedicated to providing energy storage products to commercial and residential customers in the UK. Unlike companies like Tesla that offer only one kind of battery storage, Wattstor has several storage solutions available so it can tailor its products to the precise needs of its customers. It supplies flat-pack lead-acid batteries, tubular lead-acid batteries, lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, and aqueous hybrid ion batteries. It also builds and markets the electronic components needed to manage the flow of energy between the batteries and the local power grid.
Recently, Wattstor partnered with private equity firm Janom, a private equity investment company that makes long-term investments in innovative renewable energy resources. That partnership has led to Wattstor being selected to design and install a 128 kWh battery storage system for Blackwood Homes & Care, one of the largest providers of residences for people with disabilities in Scotland.
“Emtec Energy was appointed Principal Contractor on the project, with support from Rexel PLC, and Wattstor was subsequently commissioned for providing system components, system design and project technical support at the facility, which will provide self-consumption services as well as grid backup in the event of a power cut,” a press release sent our way reads.
The installation begins with a 111.3 kW rooftop solar system installed on the roofs of 19 buildings in the Broom Court development connected to 128 kWh of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. LiFePO4 batteries have somewhat lower energy density than the more common lithium-cobalt-oxide batteries typically used in consumer electronics, but they can tolerate more charge/discharge cycles, which extends their useful life. They also have better power density and are far less likely to ignite if they become too hot during operation.
Blackwood’s overall goal for the Broom Court installation is to achieve lower utility costs by optimizing the operation of the rooftop solar panels. The site’s main distribution board has been transferred to a backup circuit which will supply emergency backup power in the event of a grid failure, allowing a portion of the PV generation to continue to operate. Battery storage also helps reduce carbon emissions from power generation facilities.
The battery system for Broom Court is configured to use 60% of its capacity for self-consumption, increasing the level of solar used and minimizing the levels of export and import to and from the grid. The remaining 40% is reserved to provide backup power in the event of a loss of grid power. Blackwood will not only utilize affordable solar power to lower its costs compared to current utility rates, but the battery system will further reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to minimize peak demand.
“Wattstor was approached because of its knowledge and reputation in the sector,” says Trevor Howard, managing director for the company. “We found the project extremely interesting and our engineers were able to design and configure the system with the functionality required. Renewable power is an economical, practical solution for a growing number of locations and energy needs, and Blackwood Care Homes are setting an example for others who are still relying on fossil fuels but who could easily transition to systems powered by solar and storage today.”
The Broom Court installation has been nominated for the “Residential, commercial, and industrial energy storage project of the year” prize at the upcoming Solar Power Portal Awards. It is part of Broom Court’s “Grey Fleet to Green Fleet” project, which is supported by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.
“Blackwood Homes offer a range of accessible, modern, and bespoke housing aimed at providing great value to people with a range of disabilities and housing needs. They run over 1,500 homes throughout Scotland and 80 of them are large care homes.” And they’re cleantech early adopters.