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A large-scale storage system made by reusing electric vehicle batteries has been developed and deployed at a 10MW solar farm in south western Japan by Sumitomo Corporation.

Sumitomo, one of Japan’s largest general trading companies, created a joint venture (JV) with Nissan Motors in 2010 with the aim of repurposing electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The latest project has seen the JV, 4R Energy Corporation develop and install a 600kw/400kWh prototype system made with sixteen used lithium-ion batteries from Nissan’s Leaf model EV.

The project, deployed at Hikari-no-Mori (‘Forest of Light’) solar farm on Yume-Shima Island, Osaka, has been selected by Japan’s Ministry of Environment as a ‘model project’ for the ministry’s programme to test the use of battery storage systems to promote renewable energy sources.

The trial of the system will last three years, verifying the suitability of the battery control to smooth fluctuating output from the solar farm. It will also test the suitability of repurposing EV battery materials for large scale storage applications. 

Hikari-no-Mori solar farm was built by Sumitomo and various associate companies, and came online in November 2013. The 10MW power plant covers an area of around 15 hectares.

4R Energy also manufactures residential and industrial lithium-ion storage battery systems, as well as a battery system for trucks.

The energy storage market is expected to see greatly increased activity over the next few years, according to research by various market analysts, driven in part by the crossover potential of technology and application of batteries in EVs.

Tags: power generation