Project Spotlight

Hickory Park Solar—RWE

40 MW / 80 MWh
DC-coupled energy storage in Southeastern, USA

Wärtsilä-RWE_Drone 2021

Renewable optimisation and efficiency in the Southeastern USA

Co-optimising hardware and software solutions for utility-scale solar-plus-storage

With increasing opportunities to connect energy assets with energy markets, renewable energy developers are pursuing solutions that improve performance and yield higher returns.

The 40 MW / 80 MWh solar-plus-storage Hickory Park facility recently commissioned by Wärtsilä in Georgia, USA, serves as a great example of this co-optimisation between hardware and software. The facility is located in a vertically integrated electricity market and uses features that can be repurposed for wholesale electricity market participation.

Main Data

Customer RWE Renewables
Site size 40 MW / 80 MWh
Site location Georgia, USA
Applications Renewables+, PPA Optimisation with day-ahead commitments
Scope of services Engineering equipment delivery (EEQ)
Delivery 2021

This is a milestone project for the integration of solar PV and energy storage and is one of the only facilities globally using DC-coupling on this scale. The flexibility and broad capabilities of the GEMS platform enable effective and efficient control over the entire system, which is essential for optimising this 80 MWh project utilising the GridSolv Quantum energy storage system.

Optimising Solar-plus-Storage

Focus on DC-coupled technology

This project is Wärtsilä’s first DC-coupled system with the GridSolv Quantum solution, a fully integrated modular energy storage system. The DC-coupled configuration increases energy delivery during peak demand and enables RWE Renewables to sell nearly 200 MW of solar generation onto the grid.

With DC-coupled solar-plus-storage systems, solar generation flows directly to the battery, via a cost-efficient DC/DC converter, and avoids conversion losses from an inverter. As a result, DC-coupled systems are up to 3% more efficient than conventional AC-coupled systems.

The flexibility and broad capabilities of the GEMS Digital Energy Platform enable effective and efficient control over the entire system.


Wärtsilä's Solution


Provide cost-competitive dispatchable power that meets day ahead Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) requirements specified by the local off-taker.

Delivered a DC-coupled solar-plus-storage system, which increases energy dispatchability during peak demand times and facilitates the integration of renewable energy into the grid.

Streamlined system design resulting in lower hybridised balance-of-plant costs.

Integrate a portfolio of energy assets, including 200 MW of solar generation and 40MW of energy storage.

Provided forecast-based day-ahead commitments and real time dispatch optimisation for value-based asset management that stacks applications: solar firming, DC solar PV clipping recovery, and excess solar energy recovering.

Dynamic PPA optimisation, including real-time visibility into and leveraging of automated and forecasted data to maximise revenue for the portfolio assets.

Integrate DC converters and solar inverters to ensure seamless energy generation.

Designed and engineered a sophisticated hardware and software solution that included lab integration testing and field testing to ensure system performance and reliability.

Greater system efficiencies for improved energy yield and dispatch.