NEXTracker Debuts Lithium-Ion Offering, Renames Flow Battery Product

By on December 6, 2017

The edgy flow battery-assisted solar tracker now has a more conventional storage companion.

 

The NX Drive provides a pre-engineered vessel for lithium-ion batteries.

A year ago, NEXTracker launched an innovative solar tracker with flow batterystoragebuilt into it. This December, the big new thing looks much more familiar.

The company has taken over a containerized lithium-ion storage product developed by parent company Flex, a major manufacturing firm active around the world. The NX Drive comes in conventional 20- and 40-foot container sizes, but it’s a “highly engineered structure” that standardizes the system’s electrical, mechanical, thermal and fire suppression needs, said NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar.

The platform gives the customer a range of choices on battery chemistry and inverter architecture. It has already been installed in multiple locations, including a National Renewable Energy Laboratory test facility in Colorado, as well as customer sites that Shugar declined to disclose.

“Storage is happening, and it’s going to scale,” he said. “We wanted to make it easy for customers to get involved and also have a really flexible design.”

Many an integrator already sells containerized storage aspiring to the platonic ideal of “plug and play.” As a newcomer to the field, NEXTracker hopes to leverage a few differentiators.

One is the digital asset management platform, ported over from the long-running solar tracker business. This system monitors equipment performance in the field, sending data back to NEXTracker via a ZigBee wireless mesh network.

For a battery system, that means moment-by-moment monitoring of temperature and cycling, which is crucial to maintaining the cell warranty and optimizing performance. The company backs up that data with “Fort Knox-level data security” supplied by Flex.

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