Tesla may have made it trendy, but the California company is far from the only automaker exploring the commercial energy storage market, which is expected to grow from $200 million in 2012 to $19 billion in 2017, according to research firm IHS CERA.
Nissan has joined forces with Green Charge Networks to deploy second-life EV batteries for commercial energy storage. Powered by Green Chargeâ€™s intelligent software, the second-life energy storage unit has a cost advantage over traditional units, according to the companies. The system will be tested at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand.
â€œA lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,â€ said Brad Smith, Director of 4R Energy, a joint venture that Nissan formed with Sumitomo in 2010. â€œNissan looks forward to working with Green Charge Networks to get second-life vehicle batteries into the hands of customers who can realize benefits that include improved sustainability and lower energy costs.â€
Meanwhile, GM, which has been working with ABB for several years on second-life battery applications, announced that it has an installation up and running at an office building at the companyâ€™s Milford Proving Ground.
â€œBecause the Volt typically draws its power from a band of energy in the battery pack, there is a lot of leftover juice for stationary use,â€ explained GM in a press release. â€œA new solar array and two wind turbines feed the administration buildingâ€™s circuit breaker panel, where the five Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building, delivering net-zero energy use on an annual basis.â€
The 74 kW ground-mounted solar array and two 2 kW wind turbines generate approximately 100 Mwh of energy annually, enough power to provide all of the energy needs for the office building and lighting for the adjacent parking lot.
â€œEven after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains,â€ said Pablo Valencia, Senior Manager, Battery Life Cycle Management. â€œThis secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale.â€
Toyota is a player in this game as well. It recently installed 208 used batteries from Camry Hybrids at Yellowstone National Park, and it sells a similar product to dealers in Japan.