NEXTracker Pairs Solar Trackers With Flow Batteries, Rides India’s Booming PV Market

By on June 7, 2017

Dan Shugar, the CEO of NEXTracker, reveals more details about the company’s plans.

Eric Wesoff | June 7, 2017 

NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar has been a force in the solar industry for over 20 years. He spoke at a recent angel investor meeting in Silicon Valley, revealing more details about partnerships and market expansion.

Shugar is two for three when it comes to startup exits. He was president of PowerLight when it was sold to SunPower for $332.5 million; and his solar tracker company NEXTracker sold to Flex for $330 million. After spinning out NEXTracker from Solaria, the firm has delivered more than 8 gigawatts worldwide in a few years. Shugar noted that the company is now working with flow battery company Avalon Battery.

The DC-coupled flow battery system can store solar generation, as well as address the problem of “clipping” inverters that are unable to handle the plant’s output at a given moment.

In a blog post, Avalon Battery’s co-founder Matt Harper suggested that the startup’s vanadium-based flow batteries are more durable than lithium-ion and “can essentially live as long as the solar plant they’re integrated with — 30 years or more.” He added that energy can be shifted to generate more revenue, and that “much of the balance of systems and associated labor costs on the AC side can be greatly reduced as well.”

He added that energy can be shifted to generate more revenue, and that “much of the balance of systems and associated labor costs on the AC side can be greatly reduced as well.”

He called it the first “deeply integrated solar-and-storage system” and suggested the “era of renewable baseload generation may be closer than you think.”

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