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Manufacturing Suniva, Inc. is building the first grid connected stored solar energy array in the state of Georgia

Published on January 31st, 2010 | by Tina Casey

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Stored Solar Energy Just Peachy with Georgia’s Suniva, Inc.

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January 31st, 2010 by
 
Suniva, Inc. is building the first grid connected stored solar energy array in the state of GeorgiaSuniva, Inc., a solar manufacturer based in Georgia, is aiming to bring a commercial, grid-connected, stored solar energy system to the state for the first time.  The company has just announced a partnership with Georgia-based GS Battery USA Inc., that will combine Suniva’s solar modules with high tech batteries on a 30 kilowatt solar plant at GS Battery’s headquarters in Roswell, Georgia.

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To make it a trifecta, a third Georgia-based company, First Century Energy of Atlanta, is the designer of the solar array.  It’s an interesting sustainable energy threesome given that GS Battery is a subsidiary of GS Yuasa Group of Japan, which is a global battery technology leader that has just contracted with NASA to assemble lithium ion battery cells in Roswell — and there’s a couple of other U.S. government connections, too.

Stored Solar Energy and Green Jobs

Suniva’s 30 kW array is set to be the first in a series, and it takes advantage of the 2009 stimulus package aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which as of January 1st applies a 30% investment tax credit to battery storage systems as well as solar systems.  On top of that, Suniva was founded by staff from the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which was established with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.  This powerful nexus of government funding, academic research and private enterprise is fulfilling the promise of an emerging green economy jump-started by the 2009 stimulus package.

Suniva and Solar Power

Suniva is known for its high efficiency, low cost monocrystalline solar cells, the ARTisun series.  At an output of up to 300 watts they rank among the highest performance levels, and the company has more developments in the works: improving the process for screen-printing solar gridlines, teasing out a better response from the more energetic blue end of the solar spectrum, and getting more light to reflect back into the system with a more efficient “passivization” layer.

GS Battery and Stored Energy

GS Batteries USA specializes in motorcycle and other vehicle batteries, so it will be interesting to see how the subsidiary interacts with its parent on a technological level.  According to an article in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, the recent GS Yuasa contract with NASA represents the high end of energy storage technology, calling for satellite and space station vessel lithium-ion battery cells that go for $20,000 a pop.  The components will be pre-made and then assembled at the Roswell facility, which could nearly triple the plant’s employment from 35 to 100.

Solar Power and Stored Energy

Energy storage is the key that will unlock the full potential of solar power for use in manufacturing, and the Roswell installation could help demonstrate that stored solar energy is just as steady and reliable as any source of fossil fuel.  Aside from lithium ion technology, researchers are also developing solar energy storage systems based on molten salt, plant photosynthesis, and even the good old fashioned flywheel.

Image: Peaches by MagdaMontemor on flickr.com.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • http://www.youproblog.com/affiliate-millionaire/affiliate-millionaire affiliate millionaire

    Just a quick message to thx you 4 your interesting article. Do you know where I could find more on this? x

  • http://www.youproblog.com/affiliate-millionaire/affiliate-millionaire affiliate millionaire

    Just a quick message to thx you 4 your interesting article. Do you know where I could find more on this? x

  • HSR0601

    Also, the unique idea of this partnership is that the batteries are also applied to storing the cheapest power from the grid during night, then using it or feeding it back to the grid, curtailing payback time.

  • HSR0601

    Also, the unique idea of this partnership is that the batteries are also applied to storing the cheapest power from the grid during night, then using it or feeding it back to the grid, curtailing payback time.

  • Brian N

    You have to think in terms of energy density, life cycle cost, devices v material properties and scalability.

    Batteries can do kW/h at some cost relative to kW/h production and flywheels can do tens of kW/h. Scaling these high tech approaches to MW/h farms is not cheap per kW/h and just folly for GW/h.

    When you need multi MW/h & GW/h energy storage you need to get away from technology devices and use physical properties of a large abundant medium.

    Thermal storage for solar thermal electricity or pumped hydro for any RE. But then you would want new hydro sites within the short possible HVDC link distance to wind farm concentrations ?

    U.S. baseload electricity generation is about 440GW with capacity to almost double. For renewables to advance above 10% of that (assuming no HVDC to a really big neighbors grid) you need storage that can charge / discharge at similar 44GW rate with capacity of a day for wind or hrs for solar PV.

    Dynamically adjusted grid loads with smart metering / pricing might offset a good portion of storage needs. If every home could dump excess discounted RE into their hot water tank, that would hugely increase the value and capacity factor of RE.

  • Brian N

    You have to think in terms of energy density, life cycle cost, devices v material properties and scalability.

    Batteries can do kW/h at some cost relative to kW/h production and flywheels can do tens of kW/h. Scaling these high tech approaches to MW/h farms is not cheap per kW/h and just folly for GW/h.

    When you need multi MW/h & GW/h energy storage you need to get away from technology devices and use physical properties of a large abundant medium.

    Thermal storage for solar thermal electricity or pumped hydro for any RE. But then you would want new hydro sites within the short possible HVDC link distance to wind farm concentrations ?

    U.S. baseload electricity generation is about 440GW with capacity to almost double. For renewables to advance above 10% of that (assuming no HVDC to a really big neighbors grid) you need storage that can charge / discharge at similar 44GW rate with capacity of a day for wind or hrs for solar PV.

    Dynamically adjusted grid loads with smart metering / pricing might offset a good portion of storage needs. If every home could dump excess discounted RE into their hot water tank, that would hugely increase the value and capacity factor of RE.

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