On July 1, A+ Solar Solutions started and finished the installation of a 3,280 Wp solar array in Salmon Arm, containing 8 LG410N2W-V5 High-Efficiency LG NeON® 2 72 cell modules and 8 Enphase IQ7A microinverters.

3,280 Wp solar array in Salmon Arm

The 8-panel solar array was mounted on the metal roof, using non-penetrating S-5! clamps.

3,280 Wp solar array in Salmon Arm

The Enphase IQ7A microinverter is the newest Enphase product that came available for the Canadian market at the end of June and provides a has a 46.4% higher peak power output than the Enphase IQ7+. My customer was one of the first in BC to get this high performing microinverter.

Enphase IQ7A microinverter

The LG modules as well as the Enphase microinverters have both a 25- year product warranty. The 8-panels solar array will roughly produce 3,355 kWh a year and save $18,000 on eliminated electricity bills for the next 30 years.

3,280 Wp solar array in Salmon Arm

Interested? A+ Solar Solutions offers tailor-made solutions as well as standard solar packages starting at $4,695.
Call us at +1 250 515 6311 or send an email to info@aplussolarsolutions.ca

Isn’t it annoying that you cannot use the battery power of your electric vehicle (EV), when there is a power outage or get paid less for the solar power you feed into the grid? – and a few hours later, you have to buy back the same electricity at a much expensive rate? Wouldn’t it be better to temporarily store the electricity locally and to use it yourself later?

So far, people use dedicated batteries (like Tesla Powerwall, LG ESS, StorEdge, Sonnen or SimpliPhi AccESS ) for local storage. But using V2H charger technology, your electric vehicle can also become such power storage, and as an emergency power back-up!.

Replacing ‘static’ wall batteries with a more sophisticated & larger capacity EV batteries sounds great, but how does it work in real life? Won’t it affect EV’s battery life? How about EV manufacturers’ battery warranty? and is it really commercially viable? This article may explore answers for some of these questions.

How does Vehicle-to-home (V2H) work?

Depending on various conditions, the batteries of an electric vehicle are either charged by solar panels or electricity from the grid. Later, during peak hours (when in some cases electricity from the grid might get expensive), at night or during power outages, the EV battery is discharged via V2H charger.

Basically, the battery of electric vehicle stores, shares, and re-purposes energy when needed.

The video below demonstrates the operation of V2H technology in real life with a Nissan Leaf.

The V2H technology is just one among the various levels of vehicle-to-grid integrations. V2H is all about self-consumption, not to be confused with V2G (Vehicle-to-grid), which lets the EV also feed into the grid for monetary benefits.

For more information on V1G, V2G, V2H, V2B, and V2X, click on Different possibilities of integrating electric vehicles into the power grid.

Advantages of V2H 

Can I power my house with an electric car? Can an EV battery power my house? Can I use my Nissan Leaf to power my house? These were the most searched phrases on the internet, during when Pacific Gas and Electric Co. turned off power to 800,000+ homes in Northern and Central California to prevent Wildfire in October 2019, and the answer is: “Technically, yes”. Vehicle-to-home technology lets you power your house with your electric car and can also address the cases, listed below.

1. EV as an emergency power supply for home

Even in well-developed countries, there can be unexpected power outages due to simple infrastructure/equipment failures to big natural calamities. In October 2019, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. turned off power to 800,000+ homes in Northern and Central California to prevent Wildfire.

Under these circumstances, the electric vehicles that support vehicle-to-home (V2H) can act as an emergency power back-up. During the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Nissan sent 66 Nissan Leafs to the north-eastern coast of Japan which acted as the primary power supply for many days!

2. Reduce electricity consumption during peak hours

As the number of electric vehicles constantly increasing, and when all of these EVs are plugged-in simultaneously for charging, they could increase the peak demand on the grid, contributing to grid overload and create the need for upgrades at the distribution level.

EVs that support V2H gives the flexibility, to deliver electricity during peak hours (thus saving peak-time prices & fines) and take charge whenever the electricity rates are cheap.

3. Possibility to use large capacity home appliances at the same time

Many modern homes in old cities do not have the possibility to grid upgrade, thus limited to use small capacity home appliances. Even if they buy a large one, they will not be able to use them at the same time.

There are cases in Amsterdam, where you cannot use the dishwasher and dryer at the same time, though these houses have the best possible load arrangement wiring per phase. Electric vehicles with V2H can act as a buffer in these cases to provide the extra capacity, without going for a need to upgrade the grid connection.

4. Effective use of natural energy & self-sustainable living

Vehicle-to-home provides a perfect combination of two of the most promising technologies – electric mobility and solar power. By storing the energy generated by solar panels into the batteries of electric cars and re-use it for home consumption could not only avoid grid imbalances but also helps to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Is Vehicle-to-home (V2H) commercially viable?

At present, most of the smart homeowners install solar panels and storage batteries which enable them to increase self-consumption of solar power. In many cases, a small home storage battery will cost between $8,000 and $10,000. Since the EV’s battery becomes the storage, this is the cost you will save. There is no need to invest in a separate storage battery as well it’s costly installation.

In addition, typical home storage batteries have a capacity of roughly 4 to 12 kWh, whereas most electric vehicles have a capacity of 30 to 100 kWh. This means you can use home appliances for a longer time. Sometimes even up to a week.

There are numerous case studies and pilot projects validating the commercial viability of vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) bidirectional charging. However, the results of each report hugely vary. Some of them show a profitable business case, and some just conclude bidirectional charging as an unnecessary errand.

Having that said, there is no standard calculation that can show the exact impact of V2H. You should always work-out the cost based on how you want to use V2H. If you intend to use it only as an emergency power-back-up, the cost of battery degradation would be minimal. But when you intend to substitute your EV as the main battery storage to work with solar panels, the cost of battery degradation could be significant.

It is also necessary to think about how much time the car will be available at home (during the day to charge from solar panels and at night to discharge to home appliances). And how much load/capacity you want to power-up with the EV battery.

Won’t V2H/V2G degrade EV battery life?

Since inception, the battery degradation and thus the economic viability of V2H/V2B/V2X bidirectional operations have always been on debate.

The rate of degradation of an EV battery depends on how you use them. There are multiple factors such as how often and how much you discharge (discharging current), at what temperature, – to what capacity throughput, at what state of charge (SoC) of the battery, and depth of discharge (DoD), decide the degradation of the battery.

(a) – (b) as a function of temperature and State of Charge; and battery degradation during cycling (c) – (d) as a function of swing in State of Charge and current (Ref: Science-direct Uddin et al., 2017a).

Say, for example, the battery degradation rate will be much higher at extreme SoC (< 20% or > 80%) than at discharging in 30-60% of SoC. Charging/discharging at extreme temperatures (cold as well warm) will degrade the battery faster than in room temperature. However, together with smart battery management systems running intelligent “optimization algorithms”, the V2H could help to balance battery degradation vs benefits.

In short: V2H, or any other form of battery discharge/recharge will degrade battery life of the electric vehicle. So perhaps, “How much is the degradation” and “Whether it is worth the benefits you get?” should be the questions and calculations you may need to do.

Which EV manufactures support V2H?

The last years, Nissan (Leaf & e-NV200), Renault (Zoe), and Mitsubishi (Outlander) were the only battery electric vehicles – BEV that supported vehicle-to-home technology, but with EV becoming more and more popular, the market is changing.

In addition to the BEVs mentioned above, Fuel cell vehicles (FCV) also support V2H. Toyota‘s MIRAI and Honda‘s Clarity provide V2H solutions by generating electricity using hydrogen and supplying electricity to homes. Both the MIRAI and Clarity are capable of delivering 9 KW electricity, that can power a typical household for up to 6-7 days!.

V2H capable chargers & technologies

CHAdeMO vs. CCS?
Because CHAdeMO fast-charging connectors already provide V2H capabilities, the Japanese electric vehicles have been in the lead for many years. The CCS standards are currently being revised to allow EV’s built to CCS standards to support bidirectional power flows. The revised standards are scheduled to be published in February 2021. However, the project team aims to have this part of the standard published by the end of 2020. When finalized, V2H capabilities will be extended to the CCS fast-charging connectors too.

DC vs. AC charging?
It is probably not a big surprise that not many EV chargers support powering your home. This is because electric vehicles need a power converter that converts the direct current (DC) stored in their batteries into the alternating current (AC), that can be feed into the grid.

➤ In case of DC charging (house-to-vehicle), the DC-AC power controller is located inside the charging stations. Therefore, the location-dependent grid codes can be programmed into the controller of the charging station that manages the power flow to and from the grid.

➤ In case of AC charging (vehicle-to-house), the DC-AC power controller that manages the power flow is located inside the EV. This means that the external charging station needs to provide the EV with all the necessary location-specific information on how to feed energy back to the grid.

For a detailed explanation, please check this page on V2G clarity (Credits : Dr. Marc Mültin)

How about EV manufacturers’ battery warranty?

Consequent to the battery life degradation, the car manufacturer’s warranty for the battery is one of the main factors that has been blocking the V2H (or any V2G bidirectional) solutions.

Industry-wide EV manufacturer’s warranty is around 160,000 km driving with a minimum remaining capacity of 70% for eight years (Reference warranty statements of Nissan, Renault, BMW, and Tesla). However, Nissan is the only EV OEM who has declared that V2H / V2G use will not void the warranty of its car battery.

As the EV makers have more insights into the capabilities and safe-operating range of their batteries, they can design a better battery management systems for their EV, that guarantee warranty period including V2H operations. Honda-Europe and BMW are reportedly testing V2H charger capabilities, but not sure when/whether they will release a commercial solution like Nissan Leaf.

Electric vehicles are already changing the way we commute, and now, with Vehicle-to-Home smart charging, EVs can change the way we consume electricity too! Not to forget, these Vehicle-to-Grid integrations will challenge traditional businesses of utility companies and require meaningful commitment from car OEMs as well.

Source: E-mobility Simplified and Nissan

Sonnen introduced ecoLinx 30 with increased capacity and versatility for Residential Energy Storage

On June 16, 2020, sonnen announced the launch of the ecoLinx 30 intelligent energy storage system, providing a new, larger-capacity solution to the company’s eco-conscious, tech-forward customers. The ecoLinx 30 integrates sonnen’s intelligent, safe, and long-lasting battery chemistry with solar, leading automation platforms, and controllable breakers to provide the ultimate comprehensive solution for managing clean energy in the smart home.

The increased capacity of the sonnen ecoLinx 30 can power homes for longer periods of time, granting access to a greater amount of on-site, clean energy available day and night. ecoLinx 30 can extend how long the home is powered with clean energy during peak periods, cloudy days, and beyond and can also offer increased resiliency during power outages along with the numerous additional benefits that result from using an intelligent battery to manage energy usage.

ecoLinx 30 features sonnen’s industry-leading warranty of 15,000 charge cycles/15 years as well as the same ability to add energy automation functionality as the existing ecoLinx product portfolio.  And with a new, shorter and wider form factor, ecoLinx 30 provides greater flexibility and versatility for placing energy storage in and around the home.

By working with new or existing solar systems, leading automation platforms, and controllable breakers, ecoLinx 30 joins the existing portfolio of sonnen energy automation products in offering smart weather forecasting, smart configurable backup power, smart demand control, and load management to provide greater overall management of energy usage in the home. The sonnen ecoLinx 30 is also eligible for participation in growing “bring your own battery” programs that provide homeowners with access to cashback through select utilities when they share their battery’s excess clean energy for grid demand response programs.

“At sonnen, we adapt to the growing and changing market needs while still providing one of the safest, longest-lasting and most innovative energy management solutions. We are excited to offer the higher-capacity ecoLinx 30 that builds upon our sophisticated energy management platform, to meet the unique needs of our customers” said Jessica Weiss, National Business Development Manager for Energy Automation and A.I. at sonnen, Inc.

To learn more about ecolinx 30 and its energy automation capabilities, visit https://sonnenusa.com/en/sonnen-ecolinx/

Source: sonnen

SolarEdge’s New Energy Hub Inverter intelligently connects Solar, Storage, & EV Charging

The innovative clean tech kids at SolarEdge launched a new inverter optimized for the integration of solar and energy storage. The new Energy Hub Inverter with Prism Technology takes SolarEdge’s 99% efficient HD-Wave inverter technology to the next level with the integration of DC-coupled StorEdge energy storage for a combined efficiency of an impressive 90.8%.

Image: SolarEdge

“As a next-generation backup solution, the Energy Hub Inverter is part of SolarEdge’s vision to change the way we power our world and our lives,” stated Lior Handelsman, VP of Marketing and Product Strategy. “By creating a centralized platform that coordinates energy production, storage, and consumption at a local level, we are transforming what is now a fragmented energy environment into a smart energy ecosystem that decreases waste, improves efficiency, reduces bills, all while being more convenient. This is a critical step in turning houses into smart energy homes and our grid into a smart grid.”

Planning for and integrating energy storage into the inverter up front eliminates the need to convert the DC power from a solar installation to AC and back to DC again to store it in a battery. The integration also streamlines installations as a second inverter to flip power from AC to DC and back for when the battery is no longer required. Additionally, the new Energy Hub Inverter plays nicely with SolarEdge’s new Smart EV charging as a solid foundation for the renewable, sustainable home of the future. The only thing is, it’s all available today.

Image: SolarEdge

The new Energy Hub Inverter can power just the essentials in a home through a power outage, or power the entire home, up to 200 amps. With all of the interconnections between the solar, multiple home batteries, and generators happening in the Energy Hub Inverter, the need to install a separate breaker panel for a generation panel is all but eliminated, saving homeowners money on non-value-add hardware and cutting installation times.

SolarEdge continues to lead the world in not just inverter technologies, but in delivering products that deliver on the promise of a sustainable, connected, and intelligent home of the future. It takes solar-powered homes beyond simply producing power into a completely new paradigm where the inverter serves as a fully-connected energy manager for the home, working to optimize the objectives of the homeowner 24/7.

Source: CleanTechnica

On June 12, A+ Solar Solutions finished another installation in Eagle Bay.

Installation A+ Solar Solution in Eagle Bay

This time we installed 6 Canadian Solar CS6K-315MS – SuperPower Mono PERC modules, and 8 Canadian Solar CS3U-380MS – KuMax Mono Split Cell modules on an east-facing roof, and 8 Canadian Solar CS3U-380MS – KuMax Mono Split Cell modules on a south-facing roof.

Installation A+ Solar Solution in Eagle Bay

The modules were mounted on an SRM rail that was mounted on S-5-N clamps from S-5! without making any penetrations to the roof.

S-5-N clamp

The 6 Canadian Solar CS6K-315MS – SuperPower Mono PERC modules are connected to 6 Enphase IQ7 microinverters and will roughly produce 1,754. kWh electricity a year.

Installation A+ Solar Solution in Eagle Bay

The 8 Canadian Solar CS3U-380MS – KuMax Mono Split Cell modules on the east-facing roof are connected to 8 Enphase IQ7+ microinverters and will roughly produce 2,822 kWh electricity a year.

The 8 Canadian Solar CS3U-380MS – KuMax Mono Split Cell modules on the south-facing roof are connected to 8 Enphase IQ7+ microinverters and will roughly produce 3,366 kWh electricity a year.

On Monday, Chris Bileske Electric will finish the electrical part of the installation, which will enable my customer to start enjoying all the benefits of free, clean solar energy.

Interested in what A+ Solar Solutions can do for you? Call us at +1 250 515 6311 or send us an email at info@aplussolarsolutions.ca

A bifacial solar panel is a solar panel that can collect energy from the front side and the rear side (a normal monofacial panel only collects energy from one side). Bifacial solar technology was created in the latter 1960s. It was dormant while the broader PV market exploded. It was too costly for incremental energy production improvements.

Bifacial solar panels
Bifacial solar panels on trackers. Credit: NPC

A CleanTechnica field trip and series of articles a couple of years ago mentioned, though, that bifacial solar cells and panels are moving more seriously into play thanks to cost drops and efficiency improvements. A recent scientific article published in the journal Joule confirms our earlier belief that this technology has promise.

Technology that tilts panels so that they can follow the sun boosts the electricity production of normal solar panels. This solar tracking is used in some solar projects, especially large ones in certain regions, but hasn’t been used in most. Bifacial solar PV technology, however, can get an especially useful boost from solar tracking technology, capturing much more sunlight than a normal solar array ever could.

The new report, “Global Techno-Economic Performance of Bifacial and Tracking Photovoltaic Systems,” confirms that tilting toward the light, for optimal sunlight collection from both sides, can be the most cost-effective solar option to date. The report determined that this combination of technologies produces almost 35% more energy, on average, than immobile single-panel photovoltaic systems. This reduces the cost of electricity by an average of 16%.

Image: courtesy of Joule

Science Daily reports:

“The results are stable, even when accounting for changes in the weather conditions and in the costs from the solar panels and the other components of the photovoltaic system, over a fairly wide range,” says first author Carlos Rodríguez-Gallegos, a research fellow at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, sponsored by the National University of Singapore. “This means that investing in bifacial and tracking systems should be a safe bet for the foreseeable future.”

The research article notes that most of the current PV installations use monofacial crystalline silicon PV modules with a fixed-tilt system setup. Things are going to change, though, as the more cost-competitive technology is apt to disrupt this dominance.

“The results reveal that bifacial-1T installations increase energy yield by 35% and reach the lowest Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE) for the majority of the world (93.1% of the land area). Although dual-axis trackers achieve the highest energy generation, their costs are still too high and are therefore not as cost-effective. Sensitivity analyses are also provided to show the general robustness of our findings.” Dual-axis trackers become more competitive as you get closer to the poles.

Dual-axis trackers become more competitive as you get closer to the poles.

Also, despite evidence that bifacial solar panels with single-axis tracking are more cost-efficient, Rodríguez-Gallegos doesn’t expect a rapid switch to this tech.

“The photovoltaics market is traditionally conservative,” he says. “More and more evidence points toward bifacial and tracking technology to be reliable, and we see more and more of it adopted in the field. Still, transitions take time, and time will have to show whether the advantages we see are attractive enough for installers to make the switch.

“As long as research continues to take place, the manufacturing costs of these materials are expected to keep on decreasing, and a point in time might be reached when they become economically competitive and you might see them on your roof,” says Rodríguez-Gallegos. “We then aim to be a step ahead of this potential future so that our research can be used as a guide for scientists, manufacturers, installers, and investors.”

Image: courtesy of Joule

Here’s a more detailed text summary from the report:

  • We find that bifacial installations with single-axis trackers reach the lowest LCOE almost everywhere (i.e., 93.1% of the total land area), while their monofacial counterparts achieve the lowest LCOE in only 3.1% of the land area. In addition, bifacial two-axis tracker installations reach the lowest LCOE only for remote areas very close to the poles, at latitudes beyond 70°, accounting for 3.8% of the total land area. Furthermore, monofacial single-axis trackers achieve the second lowest LCOE values for 87.9% of the land area.
  • On the one hand, these findings are explained by the fact that one-axis tracker systems generate comparably high yields (Figure 9), while requiring only marginally higher cost (Figure 10) compared with fixed-tilt installations. On the other hand, although two-axis tracker systems in general generate the highest yield, their considerably more expensive mounting structure (see Figures 7 and 10) outweighs the benefits in energy generation.
  • In addition, Figure 11 also reveals that, compared with conventional fixed-tilt installations, bifacial fixed-tilt installations feature higher LCOE values close to the equator (compare Figures 11A and 11B), whereas tracker installations with bifacial modules reach, in general, lower LCOE values compared with their monofacial counterparts (compare Figures 11C–11F).

The full report is here.

Source: CleanTechnica

After installing a 7,480 Wp solar array with 22 Canadian Solar CS3U-340P – KuMax Poly, Silver Frame modules and 6 QS1 Microinverter from APsystems, my customer in Eagle Bay decided to expand his solar array with 4 Canadian Solar CS3U-345P – KuMax Poly, Silver Frame modules.

26 Canadian Solar CS3U-345P – KuMax Poly, Silver Frame modules in Eagle Bay

Because all the wiring was already done last year, we only had to build a frame and mount 1 extra QS1 microinverter and 4 Canadian Solar CS3U-345P – KuMax Poly, Silver Frame modules.

8 Canadian Solar CS3U-345P – KuMax Poly, Silver Frame modules in Eagle Bay

On an annual basis, the 4 solar panels will roughly produce an extra 1,550 kWh of clean energy, which will reduce my customer’s electricity bill by $242.

Interested in what A+ Solar Solutions can do for you? Call us at +1 250 515 6311 or send us an email at info@aplussolarsolutions.ca

– 8,200 Wp solar array installed in Salmon Arm

On June 8, 2020, A+ Solar Solutions finished the installation of an 8,200 Wp solar array.

Installation A+ Solar Solutions in Salmon Arm

The system contains 20 LG410N2W-V5 High-Efficiency NeON® 2 modules and 20 Enphase IQ7+ inverters.

LG410N2W-V5 High-Efficiency NeON® 2 solar panels

LG guarantees the LG410N2W-V5 High-Efficiency NeON® 2 solar panels will produce no less than 90.1% of their nameplate power output after 25 years.

LG410N2W-V5 High-Efficiency NeON® 2 solar panels

Apart from a stellar 25-year production warranty, LG also provides an industry-leading 25-year product warranty, which is among the top of industry standards.

L bracket on U1600-SBS Torch anchor

The solar array was mounted on U1600-SBS Torch anchor, which provides a positive, watertight, manufacturer accepted attachment for torch-applied roofing systems.

Enphase IQ7+ microinverters

In combination with the Enphase IQ 7+ micro-inverters – who also come with a solid 25-year product warranty – the customer does not have to worry about his solar array for the next 25 years.

Because solar arrays last for 30-35 years and require hardly any maintenance – cleaning the solar panels once or twice a year is preferred – investing in a solar array is a very safe investment and will make one untouchable for all the hikes in electricity rates to come.

Interested in what A+ Solar Solutions can do for you? Call us at +1 250 515 6311 or send us an email at info@aplussolarsolutions.ca

PPV Evolution Labs (PVEL) solar module scorecard: In a rush to innovate, some manufacturers ‘overlooked basic quality control’

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), a test lab for the downstream solar market, just published its PV Module Reliability Scorecard. The lab notes the high level of innovation in the solar module industry and namechecks the market’s reliability leaders — but also observed a resurgence of known failure mechanisms — such as PID.

Image: PVEL

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), a test lab for the downstream solar market, just published its PV Module Reliability Scorecard.

The reliability report report reveals some new “top performers” compared to last year — but, it also shows that some manufacturers “overlooked minimum safety and quality controls in the rush to bring innovative PV cell and module technologies to market.”

Here are the solar vendors that make it onto the test labs “top performer” list.

Flood of solar cell and module advancements

PVEL’s CEO Jenya Meydbray notes the crowd of solar module options and advancements:

  • 8 different cell sizes: 125mm, 156mm, 156.75mm, 157.25mm, 158.75mm, 161.7mm, 162mm, 166mm
  • 8 different cell technologies: p-type mono Al-BSF, p-type multi and mono PERC, n-type mono PERT, HJT n-type mono, p-type bifacial mono PERC, n-type bifacial mono PERT, CdTe
  • Cells with 5 different counts of busbars 3, 5, 6, 9, 12
  • Monofacial and bifacial glass-glass modules
  • Monofacial and bifacial glass-backsheet modules
  • 4 different cell interconnection types: Standard ribbons, ECA (shingled), interdigitated backcontact, metal wrap-through
  • Half- cut and shingled cells, novel cell-to-cell interconnect methods.
  • Thinner frames and glass, light-reflecting ribbon, novel encapsulants and backsheets.

Meydbray notes, “In this rush to innovate, some manufacturers have overlooked basic quality control.”

Three trends in PV module technology and their risks

PVEL has observed three important trends in PV module technology that are “particularly important for downstream stakeholders to consider from a risk-mitigation perspective.”

Large-scale adoption of PERC cell architectures: Passivated emitted rear contact (PERC) cells have quickly replaced the once-dominant aluminum back surface field cells. Although PERC cells are higher efficiency and can perform better in low-light and high-temperature conditions, some PERC cells are susceptible to light and elevated temperature induced degradation.

New cell designs: more busbars, new types of interconnect wires, various wafer sizes, as well as half-cut or smaller cells are driving higher efficiencies. “Some new cell designs are more susceptible to microcracks and may require process changes on manufacturing lines that can lead to increased defect rates,” according to PVEL.

New module designs: PV module manufacturers are introducing lighter weight modules, bifacial options, and physically larger modules. “Newer module form factors may be more susceptible to damage, and they may not be compatible with existing mounting systems,” claims the lab.

Resurgence of known failure mechanisms

As manufacturers rush to bring new technologies to market, PVEL is observing “a resurgence of known failure mechanisms,” along with new degradation modes.

This year, the median PID (potential induced degradation) in PVEL’s testing “was the highest it has ever been in the lab’s history. PID is a problem that many in our industry regarded as solved. Its resurgence is troubling, as are many of the other failures recorded in this report,” writes the CEO in the report.

Tara Doyle, chief commercial officer of PVEL notes that new bills of materials have “yielded surprising results for some vendors,” adding that some manufacturers thought that they had a “PID resistant bill of materials” but found out otherwise.

“A diverse array of PV technologies has upended conventional R&D timelines to achieve rapid commercialization, leading PVEL to test more cell and module combinations for our 2020 Scorecard than at any point in our ten-year history,” noted Doyle.

“Developers and investors need independent, reliable data to balance the reliability risks inherent to new products against the promise of higher-performing, more lucrative projects.

Source: PV magazine

Used EV batteries for large scale solar energy storage

MIT scientists have suggested used electric vehicle batteries could offer a more viable business case than purpose-built systems for the storage of grid scale solar power in California. Such ‘second life’ EV batteries, may cost only 60% of their original purchase price to deploy and can be effectively aggregated for industrial scale storage even if they have declined to 80% of their original capacity.

Batteries stripped from electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf could have a useful second life as part of the grid Image: Tennen-Gas

Used electric vehicle (EV) batteries can be repurposed to store electricity generated by large scale solar plants, according to an MIT study.

The U.S.-based researchers claimed even devices which have declined to 80% of their original capacity could offer a better investment prospect for solar-plus-storage projects in California than purpose-built, utility scale batteries, not least because such ‘second life’ EV batteries could cost as little as 60% of their purchase price.

MIT research co-author Ian Mathews conceded technical hurdles remained to the deployment of used EV batteries on a large scale, such as aggregating batteries from different manufacturers and screening which devices could be reused. However, Mathews insisted used EV batteries still offered a persuasive enough business case to justify the cost of recovering them, screening performance and redeploying them.

Optimal operation

The researchers used a semi-empirical model – including some ‘pre-cooked’ calculations – to estimate battery degradation, and concluded operating such aggregated storage devices at 15-65% of full charge would extend their second life. “This finding challenges some earlier assumptions that running the batteries at maximum capacity initially would provide the most value,” the scientists stated.

Mathews said the feasibility of second-life EV battery storage would depend on the regulatory and rate-setting regimes under which they would operate. “For example, some local rules allow the cost of storage systems to be included in the overall cost of a new renewable energy supply, for rate-setting purposes, and others do not,” he said.

Algorithms

The academic added, longer-term pilot studies are needed to assess the potential of such systems.

The MIT researcher noted control algorithms may be adapted during projects to lengthen the feasible lifetime of such facilities. “We think this could be a great application for machine-learning methods,” said Mathews, “trying to figure out the kind of intelligent methods and predictive analytics that adjust those control policies over the life of the project.”

The successful reuse of electric vehicle batteries for grid scale storage would also require buy-in from EV manufacturers, energy storage businesses, solar project developers and power electronics specialists, added Mathews.

The MIT research project was backed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research program as well as the Quantum Sustainable Solar Technologies engineering research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, and the Singapore National Research Foundation, through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

Bern University of Applied Sciences, in Switzerland, is also investigating how used solar modules and EV batteries can be repurposed. That Horizon 2020 project runs until 2022.

Source: PV magazine