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Chinese firm to supply lead-carbon batteries for micro-grid ESS

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 11:23 -- Xuan Zhong

Chinese VRLA battery maker Sacred Sun is to supply its lead carbon technology for use in two micro-grid systems in Asia.

The first 1MWh micro-grid project will be used on a ‘militarily confidential’ island in the south of China, where it will be coupled with a 120KWp PV panel. The second is a solar–diesel-battery (both lithium-ion and lead carbon) micro-grid power plant for the China Huadian Corporation (CHD) Tibet renewable energy project.

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Africa shows potential for off-grid lead-acid energy storage

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 09:45 -- Paul Crompton

Lead-acid energy storage system firm BBOXX has closed a $20 million Series C investment to increase its share in the African micro-grid market.

The UK company’s ESS connects a 12V lead-acid battery with a battery management system and a solar panel to deliver off-grid energy at a utility scale.

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Solara takes over Centrosolar’s off-grid division

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 16:06 -- Laura Varriale
Centrosolar modules

Solara now owns the stand-alone unit’s customer and supplier structure as well as all international and European rights to the Solara brand, PV-Tech reports.

"Our goal is to develop the areas of mobile and stationary applications nationally and internationally, as well as expand the existing battery and micro systems business for single and multi-family households in the domestic market," said Frank Heise, one of Solara’s founders.

"The acquisition of the Stand Alone System division ensures the survival of the very well-known brand Solara, particularly in the leisure segment, and we can also focus on other business fields in Germany that are independent of subsidies," Heise added.

The modules are mainly used on boats and motorhomes as well as for rural electrification in developing countries.

Centrosolar employees Frank Heise, Walther Grauerholz and Mirko Held founded Solara in August this year and offers mini grid and backup systems for the solar sector.

Centrosolar has initially filed for bankruptcy, but withdrew the proposed insolvency plan on September 14. Due to conflicts of interest among the creditors, the plan cannot be implemented in the short term. The company group also has a US branch that sells solar modules for residential homes and is not affected in the recent troubles.

Ballard and Amplats launch fuel cell-powered microgrid

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 15:50 -- Laura Varriale
Ballard and Amplat's off-grid solution

Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) are to test a fuel cell-powered microgrid prototype in a remote rural community in South Africa.

The companies will power 34 households in a 12-month trial with a generator system that is fueled by methanol and uses platinum group metals as catalysts. The fuel cell system is integrated into a prototype off-grid solution incorporating a battery bank and inverters that operate within the microgrid.

The system is designed to provide a total of 15kW of power and generate peak power of 70kW.

"This field trial will provide valuable insight into the market requirements of off-grid communities,” said Andrew Hinkly, executive head of marketing at Amplats. South Africa’s Department of Energy (DOE) has chosen the rural community of Naledi Trust as a suitable site for the trial as the area does not have any access to grid power and expanding the national network would be too expensive.

The next phase of the project will be the installment of 200 to 300 units in remote villages across the country, according to Godfrey Oliphant, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources.

Ballard and Amplats are collaborating with power utility company Eskom and South Africa’s DOE to conduct the field test.

Another micro-grid offering?

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 16:59 -- Ruth Williams

Encell has shipped the first of its nickel-iron (NiFe) batteries, which have greater durability than lead-acid over deep discharge cycling to make them a contender for micro-grid applications.

The 12V, 160Ah Atlas 160 NiFe batteries are rechargeable and have a charging life of 20 years.

The batteries are intended as an alternative to VRLA in the grid installations that require standby power that can withstand frequent charging cycles including deep-discharging.

Often the life of VRLAs is greatly reduced by such a cycling pattern: at 20% discharge, typically VRLAs last over 5 000 cycles but at 80% discharge this is reduced to just over 500 cycles. Comparably, the Encell Atlas 160 NiFe cycle life under similar deep-discharge operating environments approaches 9 000 cycles. The nickel-iron batteries operate up to 100oC and can be stored up to 60oC.

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