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Solar news: January 10th, 2020

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, we’re talking storage: Google and NV Energy join up to bring a massive solar-plus-storage plant to a data center outside of Las Vegas, and manufacturer Kyocera is set to launch a new type of lithium-ion battery.

Google and NV Energy to partner on massive solar plus storage plant

Google’s data center outside of Las Vegas will be powered by renewables: the company is working with Nevada utility NV Energy on an agreement to have the center powered by a 350 megawatt (MW) solar farm, paired with between 250 and 280 MW of energy storage. The solar component of the plant alone is tied for the largest corporate solar signing in the U.S. to date.

The inclusion of storage is a unique part of this agreement. “Corporations have long used wind or solar to go ‘100 percent green,’ but there is a new effort to actually time-match consumption rather than just buying an offsetting amount of kilowatt-hours,” says Dan Finn-Foley, director of storage research for energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie. He continued: “The upside for the storage industry is dramatic if other corporations start aiming for the bar Google is setting…If this trend takes off among corporations….then it will do for storage what the first phase of corporate PPAs did for solar and wind.”

Manufacturer Kyocera will launch a new lithium-ion battery technology

In partnership with battery start-up 24M, Kyocera is planning to be the first company in the world to bring ‘semi-solid’ lithium-ion battery technology to market. Their Enerezza residential storage product line will be available in 5, 10, and 15 kilowatt-hour (kWh) models, with production beginning by fall of 2020.

What’s so great about semi-solid technology? One of the primary points of excitement around it concerns production costs. According to Kyocera and 24M, material costs are roughly 40 percent lower for semi-solid batteries than standard lithium-ion batteries, and the manufacturing time is two-thirds shorter. Add those together and you end up with significant all-in production cost reductions that, eventually, can be realized by end-consumers in the form of a lower sticker tag.

“Kyocera and our customers benefit from long battery life, unparalleled safety and the low-cost approach enabled by 24M’s unique manufacturing process,” said Toshihide Koyano, the deputy general manager of the Corporate Solar Energy Group at Kyocera. “At Kyocera, we believe that 24M’s SemiSolid technology is the emerging standard for lithium-ion battery manufacturing. We are delighted to be the first company to deliver residential energy storage products using 24M’s novel process.”


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