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Environment & Climate Change

Experimental sustainable neighborhood in Grand Rapids gets battery storage

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Michael Mazengarb
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Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
Solar panels in Michigan

Circuit West, an experimental green energy development in Grand Rapids, now has an energy storage component.  

Circuit West is described by developers as "a 13-block hub of innovative electricity generation, distribution and storage and energy efficient building construction."

The storage is in the form of large cabinet-sized batteries that can store more than an hour's worth of the energy being produced by existing solar panels.

Roger Lin is with NEC Energy Solutions, which is providing the batteries for the pilot project with Consumers Energy.

He says this pilot project is pretty small compared to some battery storage systems they've installed.

"Those bigger systems are in large purpose built buildings, so almost like energy warehouses," says Lin.  They can be two stories in height, but if you open them up and look inside you'd see rows and rows of battery racks inside of them."

Consumers Energy says it plans to dramatically increase its reliance on solar energy in the next few decades.

Battery storage can save some of the energy that solar panels produce during the day, so it can be used at night.

Consumers Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

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