The depot – which is home to around 1,000 council staff and partners – now includes a solar PV array and car ports delivering 700 kilowatts at peak generating around 600,00kW/h of electricity per annum. There are also more than 40 electric vehicle (EV) chargers being installed in the coming months, which will increase as the authority transitions a significant part of its fleet to EV over the next few years.
The Council realised it would be giving 15% of the solar energy it generated back to the grid, as it had no way of storing the excess energy created during daylight hours – and this electricity could be used to charge its electric vans at night. The authority turned to Connected Energy in nearby Newcastle for a solution.
Connected Energy has developed a unique battery energy storage system (BESS), which is already used to support solar storage and EV charging across the UK and Europe. Its pioneering E-STOR system uses batteries from end-of-life electric vans, giving them a second life in BESS. Typically, the batteries still have up to 80% of their original energy storage capacity at the end of the vehicle’s life, making them ideal for this application. Furthermore, Connected Energy’s intelligent management system enables E-STOR to integrate with solar PV, the grid, and other smart technology like building management systems. This means E-STOR can balance a site’s energy needs, reduce energy bills, and make the most of on-site renewables.
Ian Lillie, strategic facilities manager for North Tyneside Council, with responsibility for the depot, said: “Since installing and commissioning the PV array in February 2023 we have already generated over 100,000kW of green energy. However, we’ve had to give back over 20,000kW to the grid because we can’t store it.