Nissan is using used Leaf batteries to store energy at a Nissan facility. GM is using its used Chevy Volt batteries for sustainable energy storage at General Motors Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground.
A new solar array and two wind turbines feed the administration building’s circuit breaker panel, where five Volt battery packs work in parallel to supply power to the building, delivering net-zero energy use on an annual basis.
Because the Chevy Volt usually draws its power from a band of energy in the battery pack, they can have up to 80 percent or storage capacity remaining. The secondary use application extends its life, while reducing waste and saves money.
The batteries also offer back-up power to the building for four hours during an outage and stores it until it’s unneeded. Excess energy is sent back to the grid that supplies the Milford campus.
The 74-kilowatt ground-mount solar array coupled with the two 2kW wind turbines generate enough power to provide all of the energy needs for the office building and lighting for the adjacent parking lot. Together, they generate approximately 100 Mwh of energy a year, roughly equivalent to the energy used by 12 average households.
The secondary application is being used as a living lab to understand how the battery redistributes energy at this scale. Gm is working with partners to validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.
Repurposed scrap Volt battery covers are being used for bat houses to nesting boxes for endangered duck species.
The reuse of Volt batteries also helped the data center administration building receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.