CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 10, 2016 -- Duke Energy has started testing a first-of-its-kind battery technology at its Rankin Substation in Gaston County, N.C. The hybrid ultracapacitor-battery energy storage system (HESS) will demonstrate multiple service applications: extended operational life, rapid response, real-time solar smoothing and load shifting. "This approach will allow our energy storage systems to do a variety of tasks," said Thomas Golden, technology development manager for Duke Energy. "With so many solar installations in North Carolina, we must look for innovative ways to better incorporate renewable energy into our system – and still provide reliable service at a competitive price for our customers." One of the distribution lines at the substation has a 1.2-megawatt solar installation connected a mile away. With North Carolina fourth in the nation for installed solar power, managing and maintaining these grid-connected renewable installations is critical now and in the future, added Golden.