First grid-scale Li-ion system in Czech Republic to be built by Alfen

By Andy Colthorpe for Energy Storage News

A village in the south east of the Czech Republic will be host to what is thought to be the country’s first grid-scale lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) connected to a solar farm.

Prakšice, a municipality with a population of just under 1,000 people, is host to a ground mounted solar farm with 0.683MW generation capacity, built by Czech-headquartered firm Solar Global. The developer has constructed and operates 23 utility-scale solar farms and one rooftop plant and has now decided to invest in energy storage.

Solar Global has appointed Dutch grid-scale electrical equipment and integration company, Alfen, to carry out the project at Prakšice, which Alfen said will initially be used for energy trading, but is being designed and built so that it will be ready to take on the delivery of grid services and network balancing applications if the market opens up to those opportunities.

Energy-Storage.News made some enquiries this morning to Alfen on the business case for the 1MW lithium-ion system and its expected energy storage duration but did not receive replies ahead of publication. The system is expected to be completed and connected in the fourth quarter of this year, financially supported with an unspecified amount of funding from the EU Regional Development Fund.

“Energy storage will play a crucial role in the large scale roll-out of renewable energy,” Solar Global CEO František Smolka said. “With this project we prepare ourselves for the future, and I expect to implement many more of these systems in the region.”

Meanwhile, Alfen global sales director Andreas Plenk said companies such as Solar Global “are realising that storage will enhance the return-of-investment of solar PV and wind farms. And we’re only at the beginning of this trend.”

The US Department of Energy’s ‘Energy Storage Project Database’, lists just five operational energy storage projects online in the Czech Republic so far. Four of these are pumped hydro plants and the other is a vanadium redox flow battery system installed in 2015, installed at a science and technology park in South Bohemia, with just 30kW rated power and four hour energy storage duration.

While the US DoE database is not infallible, it tends to be fairly up to date with large project development – although Energy-Storage.News did report on one other, even smaller flow battery system being installed at the same time as the South Bohemia system. Both those flow battery systems are CellCube systems from Gildemeister.

In terms of PV, the Czech Republic saw a mini-boom pre-2015, especially among ground mount plants, but the topic of solar has become something of a political football for opportunistic politicians.

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