No Bull: University in Spain to develop Solar Microgrid in Pamplona

May 20, 2022
The smart microgrid will use second-hand stationary batteries from EVs and a solar photovoltaic source. The batteries will provide peak power supply

Researchers from the Public University of Navarre’s (UPNA) Institute of Smart Cities (ISC) are developing a new solar microgrid on the university campus in Spain.

The initiative is part of the demonstration projects that are being implemented in Pamplona under the STARDUST project, which aims to make the city low carbon and smarter.

The smart microgrid will use second-hand stationary batteries from EVs and a solar photovoltaic source. The batteries will provide peak power supply.

The coordinator of the initiative, Pablo Sanchis highlighted the challenges of electric transport, saying, “Firstly, the charging of buses has to match the timetables on each route. Therefore, the time that the bus remains stationary at the terminus station is key to ensure sufficient charging of the bus’s electric storage system. Secondly, the limited charging time implies a very high demand for electrical power”. He said that supplying this peak power is not easy.

In this context, researcher Alfredo Ursúa added, “the design of advanced charging stations that incorporate not only the electronics needed to connect the bus to the distribution network, but also a stationary back-up electrical storage system and a renewable electricity generation system can overcome the aforementioned drawbacks and facilitate the transition to an electric urban transport system.”

He added that the installation comprised a back-up storage system, consisting of second-life lithium-ion batteries and roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, “Both form a microgrid designed to be connected either to the internal network for experimental validation tests or, in the future, to the entrance of the nearby pantograph post of line 9 of the Regional Urban Transport that is already electrified. The microgrid is managed and controlled in a coordinated manner from a control unit, with the possibility of remote access.”

A monitoring station will also be installed in the lecture theatre that will show real-time information about energy flows. It will also provide detailed information through graphs and energy tables. The monitoring system will be remotely accessible via a website.

The STARDUST partners include the Government of Navarra; the National Centre for Renewable Energy (CENER); BeePlanet, which provides the batteries; and the local authority Mancomunidad de la Comarca de Pamplona which runs the electric bus network.