BERN: NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES), a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s NEC Corp., has agreed to provide an 18 MW, 7.5 MWh energy storage system to renewables-focused Swiss utility Elektrizitätswerke des Kantons Zürich (EKZ). The Tokyo-based IT group claims the installation will be the biggest energy storage system in Switzerland. It is scheduled for completion in early 2018, according to an online statement. NEC did not reveal the specifications of the system or the financial terms of the deal. Its U.S. subsidiary specializes in the production of lithium-ion storage batteries, as well as rack-integrated energy storage and battery components.
Zurich-based EKZ — which operates 8.5 MW of solar across 63 sites in its home market, on top of wind, biomass and hydropower assets — will own and run the battery bank. Switzerland’s total installed PV capacity stood at 1.6 GW at the end of 2016, up from 1.39 GW a year earlier, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Battery storage will play a key role in tomorrow’s power networks. With this first large-scale commercial battery storage project performing primary reserve in Switzerland, we’re taking an important step towards a reliable and sustainable energy future,” said Marina González Vayá, project manager for EKZ. “NEC ES’s fast, flexible energy storage product proved to be the best solution to complement conventional power production assets such as pumped hydro storage and thermal generation resources in the primary reserve control market.” EKZ — one of the largest energy suppliers in Switzerland — has operated a 1 MW energy storage project in the Swiss municipality of Dietikon since 2012. NEC will build the 18 MW project at a substation near Zurich in Volketswil. Its storage capacity will be roughly the same as the daily electricity consumption of 600 average homes.