Invinity Energy Systems' flow battery plus solar backup for California fire station

by Michael Green
Call of duty: Vanadium flow battery-plus-solar backup supports Soboba Fire Department. Photo: Invinity Energy Systems
Invinity Energy Systems has installed a vanadium flow battery to support emergency services in a Californian community designated as being in an ‘extreme threat’ area for wildfires.

Invinity, formed earlier this year through the merger of UK & North American flow battery firms redT and Avalon, said the 0.5MWh battery at a fire station, run by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, will protect emergency services and the local community against grid outages caused by wildfires in Southern California.

The battery forms part of a $1.7m (£1.3m) project developed by non-profit solar installation company, Grid Alternatives, which includes 50kW of on-site solar generation to provide "a minimum of 10 hours continuous backup power to the site”. 

Excess power generated during daylight hours can be used on-demand when needed, Invinity said.

Uninterrupted power

"The fire station is a vital part of the Soboba community. Tribal residents live in a district identified by the California Public Utilities Commission as a ‘Tier 3 – extreme’ threat area and have experienced multiple outages linked to wildfires over the last two years.”

During wildfires, the Soboba fire station serves as the incident command centre and emergency shelter as well as the point of distribution for food, equipment and supplies – "making uninterrupted power vital for community resiliency”.

Soboba is one of four energy storage projects using Invinity flow batteries to be selected for funding by the California Energy Commission, as part of a $20m initiative to encourage the deployment of long-duration, non-lithium energy storage.

Related article in our archive: