Nissan explores using EV batteries in solar energy “harvesting” operation

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Nissan EV batteries at solar farm

Nissan EV batteries are among those being used in energy monitoring and storage in a solar farm project in Osaka, Japan, the automaker said. (Photo courtesy Nissan)

We’ve talked about variations of this theme before: Nissan is part of a solar project that sees the company’s EV batteries to monitor and store energy captured by a so-called “Forest of Light.”

Nissan said in a press release that its batteries are part of what it called “the world’s first large-scale energy storage system,” and a demonstration of how EV batteries might find a second life after they’re no longer useful for automotive applications. Located on the man-made island of Yumeshima in western Japan’s Osaka, the Hikari-no-Mori — translated as “Forest of Light” — features 36,000 solar panels installed atop a landfill, the release said. Japanese business giant Sumitomo reportedly manages the project.

Sumitomo Battery Business Development Senior Associate Mugihiko Ozeki said, “This is the Osaka ‘Hikari-no-mori Project’ mega-solar power generation facility, a project with eight other companies. We are testing the system controlling the output of the battery packs that charge the energy generated by this 10-megawatt mega-solar power station, linking the data from the photovoltaic panels in real time.”

The release said Nissan and Sumitomo have teamed up on a joint venture called 4R Energy — the four Rs being Reuse, Resell, Refabricate, and Recycle — that uses 16 recycled EV batteries to monitor energy fluctuations and store the solar farm’s energy output.

4R Engery President Eiji Makino said, “Depending on use, a battery’s degree and rate of deterioration, and the battery’s condition, vary by vehicle. So 4R has created a technology that allows us to have optimal control in regulating those conditions.”

Nissan said the solar project is part of a three-year test under Japan’s Environment Ministry that hopes to expand renewable energy resources and power grid management. The release said the EV batteries have up to 70% capacity remaining — a capacity the release claimed is the average after 100,000 kilometers of driving or five years of driving.

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