The Solar Plus Storage Must Flow

Ideal Energy has installed a single-axis tracker, 1.1 MW DC solar plant with NexTracker’s largest flow battery project to date: a 35 unit, 350 kW / 1.1 MWh Avalon Battery vanadium flow system.


Flow batteries have a few key advantages over lithium-ion technology. The most important may be that they don’t degrade, and some are projecting that the path toward financially viable energy storage must go through flow batteries.

Ideal Energy has installed a 1.1 MWdc solar power plant for the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. The system brings the university’s renewable energy energy share to 43%, including a 12.5 kW roof mount solar system, another 42 kW ground-mounted PV plant and a 10 kW wind turbine.

The new solar facility includes Nextracker’s largest DC connected vanadium flow battery installed to date. The plant has its own website, and a really nice pdf download showing off the details.

The solar field is composed of 35 unique rows of 90 solar modules, one inverter, and one flow battery. The site’s topography necessitated a two-part layout – one with a “standard” slope of up to 5%, and a “high” slope section between 6% and 15%.

Nextracker’s single-axis tracking arrays allow for a greater optimization of electricity production due to its ability to adjust based upon site-specific needs. In a site that is focused on lowering demand charges, the “wide shoulders” of a single axis tracking system allow solar-only production earlier and later than fixed-tilt mounting, lowering the need for energy storage in those windows.

And while this is the largest flow battery to accompany a Nextracker system to date, it isn’t the largest flow battery in the USA, with at least two 2 MW / 8 MWh systems being installed – one in San Diego, and one in Washington.

See more from pv magazine here.