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BRAINTREE

Batteries store solar energy for Braintree Light customers

Braintree Light customers can now use electricity generated by the sun — during the night.

The Braintree Electric Light Department last month unveiled its new energy storage facility, a small building filled with lithium-ion batteries that are able to store electricity produced by the town’s solar arrays.

Without the batteries, the electricity could only be accessed when it was produced, during sunny days.

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The stored electricity also can be used during times of peak demand, reducing the need to purchase electricity when it is most expensive, according to Craig Gilvarg of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

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The storage system was financed in part by a $700,000 grant from the state Department of Energy Resources, which awarded $20 million to 26 similar projects across the state in December 2017.

The Braintree facility is the first of those projects to begin operation, according to Gilvarg, whose organization administered the grants.

The Baker administration has touted energy storage as a way to decrease electricity costs and increase the effectiveness of power from renewable sources. Stored energy also can be used during power outages and increase the electric grid’s overall reliability and resilience.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.