Lockheed Martin has revealed plans to supply its GridStar Flow battery technology to TC Energy’s Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project, which is set to be constructed in Alberta, Canada.
The Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project will consist of a 102.5 MW solar facility using bifacial modules, paired with a GridStar Flow battery energy storage system that will be up to 6.5 MW/52 MWh in capacity. The pilot project is expected to be the largest flow battery energy storage facility in Alberta and will aid the region’s sustainability and decarbonization efforts.
Flow batteries are electrochemical storage devices that use reusable, externally stored electrolytes. They are generally less expensive, safer, more flexible and adaptable compared to lithium-ion tech, and can discharge their electricity over a longer duration – in this instance, up to eight hours.
The first phase of the project, which involves the solar installation, is expected to begin construction in the second quarter of 2022,. It is set to reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2022. The battery system is expected to follow just over a year later, commencing installation in the third quarter of 2023 and achieving operation in the first quarter of 2024.
The installation will also be the subject of research, conducted by the University of Calgary, Lockheed Martin, and TC Energy, to demonstrate the effectiveness of a large-scale solar plus storage generation facility and inform similar sustainable energy projects across Canada.
Alberta has become Canada’s solar hotbed. Westbridge Energy Corp. recently acquired a 75% controlling interest in Sunnynook Solar Energy, a company developing a 236 MW solar and 100 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Alberta. Westbridge Energy has also initiated two BESS projects in Alberta, set to total 200 MW in capacity, and the 230 MW Georgetown Solar Project.
Lockheed Martin is also investing $9 million (USD) in the development and construction of the Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project. The investment is associated with Canada’s purchase and in-service support of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force from 2010 through 2012.
The Canadian Renewable Energy Association expects close to 2 GW of wind and solar projects to begin construction or complete installation before the end of this year.