Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) and its partners have hailed a major milestone in the ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport) SMART Places Live Lab programme, as four sites with solar PV installations are linked.
The two-year £22.9 million project is being funded by the Department for Transport, and is designed to explore smart energy management systems for electric vehicle (EV) charging at key council sites in the Thames Valley in order to inform its net zero planning.
West Berkshire Council’s head office and Northcroft leisure centre in Newbury, the Willink School in Burghfield Common and Building 150, a warehouse on a former army base, which all have solar PV installations, have all now been linked using SGS’s Cirrus Flex distributed energy resources management system (DERMS).
The council will now be able to monitor and analyse the amount of energy generated at the sites.
“Connecting West Berkshire Council’s four sites to our smart energy platform is a key milestone for the Thames Valley Live Lab,” said Ben Kirley, project manager at SGS.
“This pilot project is a signpost for the future, when councils will be able to manage their energy generation and use across multiple sites using a single platform. That’s essential if councils are going to hit their net-zero targets, while keeping down the costs to taxpayers.”
Since going live in 2020, the solar PV installations at the council’s head office and Building 150 have already generated a combined 122MWh of electricity.
Additionally, SGS is working with neighbouring Reading Borough Council to monitor its solar PV and EV charging sites, looking to control and interact assets with wider grid services.
The Thames Valley Live Lab project has recently concluded, with work now underway to explore how it can be extended to increase the benefits for local councils.
“Our Live Lab is starting to provide some of the answers that [local authorities] need to manage their fleets of EVs, their building management systems, and their solar panels and other renewable energy devices,” said James Crosbie of the Thames Valley Live Lab project.
“The next steps will be for the councils that are taking part in our Live Lab to begin managing their energy using the technology that’s been developed and implemented during this pilot project.”
ADEPT has been supported by SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway and WSP. Nine local authorities have been involved in its work, looking at introducing digital innovation across mobility, transport, data and other areas, this includes energy with Live Labs forming part of ADEPT’s SMART Places arm.
SGS was acquired by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Power Products in 2021, and is involved in a number of smart energy management projects in the UK including the QUEST project, the Charge Project and the Microresilience project.