isles of scilly

£10.8m smart energy system to be trialled on the Isle of Scilly

A “smart energy system” incorporating electric vehicles, solar panels and home battery storage is set to be trialled on the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall.

The £10.8m project will develop systems to balance the islands’ supply and demand for electricity, increase the use of renewables and help towards energy independence.

It will lay foundations for the wider Smart Islands programme which aims to cut electricity bills by 40 per cent by 2025, meet 40 per cent of energy demand through renewables and see 40 per cent of vehicles being electric or low-carbon.

The 2,200 residents of the Isles of Scilly, 45km off the UK mainland, have no gas supply and rely on imported fuels and electricity to meet their needs.

As a result, the islands have one of the UK’s highest electricity consumption levels, while a combination of high fuel costs, low wages and homes with inefficient heating systems mean more than a fifth of households are in fuel poverty.

Recent failure of the single power cable to the mainland left the islands relying on generators for power.

The project will double the amount of solar power installed on the islands, with rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels put on 100 homes representing a tenth of the isles’ housing stock. Two 50 kilowatt (kW) solar gardens will also be built.

Of the homes getting solar systems, 10 will be piloting other smart energy systems, including smart batteries and air source heat pumps.

Home battery company Moixa said it was developing an electric vehicle management system to control and optimise how electric car batteries plugged into the grid could be used by the islands’ energy systems.

This will be coupled with a home battery management system that will allow homes with solar panels to save money by storing and using more of the power they generate, and import or export electricity to balance local needs.

Moixa’s systems will integrate with an “internet of things” platform developed by project leader Hitachi Europe, which will use home batteries, electric vehicles and heating systems to manage supply and demand.

Smart systems developed for the Scilly Isles could be replicated around the world, to help communities make a swift switch from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, Moixa said.

Chris Wright, chief technology officer, said: “Home batteries and electric vehicles controlled by smart software will help create a reliable, cost-effective, low-carbon energy system that will deliver savings to homeowners and the community.

“Our systems will support the reduction of fuel poverty on the Scilly Isles and support their path to full energy independence.

“They will be scalable and flexible so they can be replicated easily to allow communities all over the world to cut carbon and benefit from the smart power revolution.”

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