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New energies 09/10/2015

Corsica switches to a solar Smart Grid in Alata

Producing solar energy is good, but being able to store and redistribute it when and where it’s needed is better. The Alataphotovoltaic plant in southern Corsica will provide electricity to a thousand homes thanks to its innovative storage system.

The energy transition means using energy better, which will require improvements to the electric grid to make it more reactive, intelligent and responsive to consumer needs. To this end, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) aunched a call for tenders for projects combining photovoltaics and storage areas for non-interconnected zones, particularly in the French islands. Cofely Ineo’s winning project will provide a thousand households with solar energy via the Alata power station, which will be inaugurated on October 9th.

Solutions for smart energy management

"This tender challenged us to combine PV with a storage system that would be able to handle the power being supplied and, above all, to predict changes to it", explains Jean-François Revel, Managing Director of Cofely Ineo. More than 13,450 solar panels – with an area of almost 10 hectares – have since been installed on the Santa Lucia site at Alata, 20 km north of Ajaccio. The photovoltaic plant has a capacity of 4.4 MWp in addition to its innovative storage device. Li-ion batteries store energy that can be redistributed to accommodate the changing needs of customers of the Corsican network manager (EDF SEI) without service interruptions. "We developed a monitoring system that uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze meteorological forecasts for the next day’s weather, which allows us to commit to a certain amount of energy production. It was an important part of the project specifications, " says Jean-François Revel.

Producing energy off the grid

The Alata project is the first commercial application Cofely Ineo’s smart energy management solutions. New calls for projects from the Energy Regulatory Commission are currently underway for similar projects to be installed in 2017. "We hope to apply our innovative solutions in a number of projects", says Jean François Revel, who also works with Hibiscus, a project incubated by ENGIE Innovation. "Their goal is to provide solar energy even when there is no electricity grid. This would allow us to address issues internationally, especially in remote island areas and developing countries, and to produce electricity totally independently. "

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