Saft Powers transition of small Italian Islands to renewable energy

Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, has installed seven maintenance-free Flex’ion lithium-ion battery systems supporting a microgrid with solar plants on the Italian island of Favignana (Sicily). These systems are expected to be fully operational by end 2022.

On the remote island of Ustica, Saft Flex’Ion batteries will support a microgrid powered by hydroelectric and solar plants, as well as diesel generation. The batteries will be connected to the distribution network and integrated into a smart grid in the next few months. These are the first milestones of the “I-Sole project”, involving local utilities as well as scientific expertise from the University of Palermo and the Italian National Research Council.

The project is supported financially by the European Union and the Region of Sicily, under the technical lead of Layer Electronics, a local power electronics company. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage 2021-2031.

The I-Sole project aims to develop innovative technical solutions for the monitoring and control of the generation and distribution of electricity, to increase the use of renewable sources and storage systems on small Sicilian islands while supporting the security of power supply. Flex’ion, with its embedded remote monitoring capabilities, is an asset for the goals of the grid operators.

Antonino Culcasi, managing director of Layer Electronics, said: “Layer has a long-lasting experience in power systems supporting the deployment of renewables. I-Sole will allow small, non-interconnected islands such as Ustica and Favignana to rely less on their current diesel power plants, especially during peak demand thanks to batteries and smart grids. Saft Flex’ion batteries have been successfully tested with our products in Italy. They have also been specified because of their strong track record when it comes to safety, long-life, reliability and availability. Saft was the best match.

Mauro Fassina, General Manager for Saft in Italy, said: “For decades, Saft has been providing battery solutions for island microgrids all over the world, from Hawaii to Gran Canaria. Remote Italian islands like Ustica or Favignana can’t rely on the mainland for their power supply and still they aim to reduce carbon emissions by integrating more renewables into the grid. Sending technical people to those islands for maintenance purposes is not a simple task. The technical characterics of these projects such as load profile or voltage were quite distinct and could have required different and customized solutions. Saft Flex’ion batteries solve these challenges by providing a standard, safe, maintenance-free and modular solution. We are very proud to be part of the I-Sole project which demonstrates again the key role of Saft for low-carbon island microgrids.

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