As part of smart-grid research efforts, Duke Energy has installed an array of 213 solar panels in south Charlotte, N.C., to provide electricity to homes served by Duke Energy's McAlpine Creek substation.
The substation's new solar panels will provide approximately 50 kW of electricity, enough to power five homes when the panels are operating. Electricity from these panels can be sent directly into the distribution lines serving the McAlpine Creek test area or used to charge a 500 kW storage battery planned for installation at the substation in the weeks ahead.
The solar panels and battery will be used in conjunction with residential energy management systems to determine how Duke Energy can create a virtual power plant by combining renewable sources, storage technology and energy efficiency to meet customer needs, the utility says.
In addition, approximately 100 McAlpine area households are participating in a residential energy management system pilot. This pilot will focus on the technical, operational and customer satisfaction characteristics of emerging energy management systems that will allow customers to save electricity and money by customizing how they use energy.
SOURCE: Duke Energy