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Advanced hybrid UPS with Solar MD HV batteries delivers 35% annual savings

The Rembrandt Mall advanced hybrid UPS is the first installation of an Advanced Hybrid UPS above 1MW in Africa. The 18 500m2 mall is home to more than 70 different stores, ranging from smaller-scale boutiques to large fast-food franchises. This system as installed will reduce electricity bills by 35% per annum with an ROI of above 20%.

The system architecture is based on existing commercial UPS technology, but what makes this system unique is that the converter has 4-quadrant, bi-directional, grid forming, high-efficiency capabilities.

In tests, validated at the Fraunhofer Institute, the converter and charger have efficiencies of 98.5%.

During mid-2020 the Joubert family, owners of the retail property commissioned Voltar-BESS to install a renewable energy system that would be self-funding over a 60-month hire purchase agreement with their bank.

The currently available 1MW battery converters in the industry did not comply with NRS097-1 standards and as a result, Voltar-BESS worked to develop this unique UPS with help from AEG Power Solutions in Germany. The technical design was simulated with Homer, validating the concept and returns.

As a result, an agreement was reached in October 2020 to install 640kWp of solar, the 1MW UPS and an 850kWh lithium battery.

The installation was undertaken in partnership with Herholds Renewables which supplied the solar panels, PV inverters and a SolarMD battery. AEG designed and certified the battery charger, converter and transformer.

This exciting new technology will open the way for all the stakeholders in the renewable energy sector to benefit from storage.

The features of this system developed and commercialised are as follows:

  • Delivered as a "plug and play" solution

  • Is excluded from the NRS097-1 regulations

  • Local approvals will not be required as the system creates a mini-grid that is never grid-connected. The configuration means installers and EPC's not to have long delays for approvals.

  • Handles load shedding seamlessly

  • Facilitates load shifting during the high tariff period twice a day

  • Peak shaving reduces demand fees per month and enables developments where there is insufficient grid capacity.

  • Easy integration with existing solar – frequency shifting is automatic, reducing the need to communicate with existing solar inverters.

This project was commissioned in June 2021 and is fully operational as designed.

Voltar-BESS would like the opportunity to thank the Joubert Family, Dr Bernard Bekker, all at AEG, Hein at Herolds Renewables, the team at SolarMD for developing the high voltage battery and lastly the Voltar-BESS team for the installation.

These systems are now available in shipping containers and the starting price ex-factory for a 1 MW UPS plus 2MWh lithium battery storage system is R12.7m. These systems can be parallel for larger applications.

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