Apple To Use Tesla Batteries At Solar Plant

Apple has recently announced that it is planning a large battery installation project at its solar farm in Northern California.

The solar farm is called The California Flats Solar Project. It’s located in southeastern Monterey County. Built by a subsidiary of First Solar, this solar power plant boasts an impressive size of 280 Megawatts and was completed in 2019. The power generated by this farm is purchased by both Apple and Pacific Gas and Electric.

California Flats Solar Project. Courtesy – Apple

While it has not yet been publicly announced that Apple is purchasing battery systems from Tesla for this project, this information leak comes from documents sent to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. More specifically, Tesla is selling their “Megapack” battery system. This is their utility size energy storage system. According to the documents, there will be 85 Megapacks supplied offering a total of 240 Megawatts of storage capabilities.

Tesla Megapack: Courtesy – Tesla

“The challenge with clean energy — solar and wind — is that it’s by definition intermittent,” – Apple VP Lisa Jackson said “If we can do it, and we can show that it works for us, it takes away the concerns about intermittency and it helps the grid in terms of stabilization. It’s something that can be imitated or built upon by other companies.”

It has been estimated that monetary value of this battery storage project is more than $50 million. That’s certainly significant business that Apple is giving Tesla despite their ongoing talent acquisition rivalry. It’s also a sign that Tesla is still the leader in the energy storage industry, and probably will be for some time to come.

This is certainly a smart and important project for Apple. The company knows that not only is battery storage a vital part of the transition to sustainable energy, but it also just makes good business sense. They’ve done the math and have seen the savings they will realize over the long term. Also, like Apple VP Mrs. Jackson mentioned, this is good PR for the company and shows the company taking the lead on actions that other companies can now more confidently take.

Plans Announced For Large Battery Project In New York

New York City has just announced plans to replace 2 natural gas plants in Queens with lithium ion battery storage.

In another PV Magazine inspired post, we will take another look at the importance of energy storage in our completely renewable energy future.

The Ravenswood Energy Storage Project will be a 316 MW facility capable of 2,528 MWh of power output. This is enough electricity to provide 250,000 homes with power for 8 continuous hours. The same company that currently owns the existing 16 gas peaker plants is the same one developing this project. This is further proof of the now financially viable energy storage market. The project will be completed in three phases, with the first one coming online in 2021.

New York State Public Service Commission
New York State Public Service Commission

“When complete, this facility will displace energy produced from fossil fuel plants during peak periods, resulting in cleaner air and reduced carbon” – New York State Public Commission Chair – John B. Rhodes. Governor Cuomo is also in full support of the Ravenswood project as a part of his pledge to bring more jobs and clean energy to the state of New York. In fact, the governor’s plans are to have the state’s electricity sector become emission free by 2040. This timeline is faster than any other state.

While this energy storage system will be fed electricity from all sources both green and fossil fuel, the overall net effect is a positive one simply because it is replacing natural gas plants. Carbon emissions will be lower in general. Of course, the state’s goal is to move towards more clean energy production over time, which include 6 gigawatts of distributed solar power by 2025. This is just one part of the Governor’s Green New Deal for the state of New York.

The owners of the Ravenswood energy site have obviously crunched the numbers here. Battery storage represents a more attractive long term investment compared to natural gas. Eventually this transition would become a necessity as fossil fuels are inherently limited. Another bonus for the company is that it is in alignment with New York’s goals of transitioning to a clean energy society. It’s a win-win across the board. This and other large scale battery projects will soon be fed nothing but clean, renewable energy as well.

We can all look forward to many more energy storage projects like this one arriving real soon!

Report Shows Strong Solar Growth Trend

In a recent Department of Energy report, new wind and solar power capacity additions dwarf most fossil fuels types.

This post is basically part two of the most recent one detailing future solar power growth predictions in the U.S. The basic idea here is that solar has been, and is completely expected to, stay on a growth trend that massively outpaces all fossil fuels.

Case in point is this recent report released by the Department of Energy that shows wind and solar power growing at a pace much faster than fossil fuels. In fact, it shows that wind and solar accounted for more than 500 gigawatts of new energy capacity for 2018. Of course, the natural gas boom is still prevalent, but due to the inherently non-renewable nature of that source of power, it can be expected that it will eventually follow a downward trajectory.

U.S. Department of Energy

Another interesting thing definitely worth mentioning about this graph is the quite noticeable portion of energy storage. An increasing amount of energy storage is being incorporated in renewable energy projects. Battery storage is an undeniably important part of current and future wind and solar installations.

This post is, yet again, inspired by a recent one by PV Magazine USA. According to their research, projected solar growth shows a possible 222 gigawatts of solar and 64 gigawatts of energy storage through to 2023. Of course, it is quite possible that not every single gigawatt of these figures will be installed and it is also quite possible that the numbers will be even larger.

The primary point of this follow up post to the last was to add a few more numbers to the story. There’s plenty of statistical evidence to prove the solar industry’s ascension as a part of the total energy mix in the coming years. It may be easy to doubt any one person’s predictions, but hard data from reputable sources like the Department of Energy are difficult to refute.

The big picture here is that solar power will become a major source of energy much sooner than later!