In July 2021, the demo site in Desternik, Slovenia, will be launched. As part of the project, a battery system as well as monitoring equipment will be purchased, making it possible to store photovoltaic electricity. How will this change the lives of the 2617 residents of this rural municipality, situated in the North West of the country? Can Desternik become a smart village?

At the moment, most energy being used in the town is generated through fossil fuels.  With this demo site, the municipality will demonstrate how clean energy can be stored in batteries to allow for a more integrated energy system. It will also show that even small municipalities like Desternik can put systems in place to cover the energy needs of municipal and also potentially residential buildings.

How will the demo site work? Photovoltaic panels will generate electricity, which will be stored in a stationary battery inside the municipal office. When electricity production is high, excess electricity will be fed into the net metering system, making it possible for other residents of Desternik to use the electricity. The electricity will also be made available for the charging of electric vehicles at a local charging station, which will be accessible to the general public. This means that the residents of the municipality will directly benefit from the investment.

The site will also contain all the equipment needed to control and manage the electric loads from the grid, PV system and the batteries. It is important to bear in mind that while the demo site will continue using electricity from the grid, it will supplement it with its own electricity generated by means of solar panels. This is a highly effective way of dealing with the variability of sun light across seasons and times of day.

In addition, the site will showcase an innovative energy storage solution, making it possible to keep solar energy until it is needed and therefore avoid wastage. It also demonstrates that municipalities can mix and match, using photovoltaic energy stored in batteries as well as electricity from the grid. Employing batteries will greatly reduce the strain on the grid because the municipal building will be able to use its own electricity during times of peak demand. This will contribute to the creation of a smarter grid and help Desternik become a smart village.

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