GM Car Batteries Fuel IT Facility

08/01/2015 |

Electrical vehicle batteries, wind, and solar panels power this building

Data center

Five electric vehicle batteries work with an adjacent solar array and two wind turbines to supply power to a General Motors data center. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOHN F. MARTIN FOR GENERAL MOTORS

Five used batteries from Chevrolet Volt electric cars are helping keep the lights on at the new General Motors Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground in Michigan.

“Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life, up to 80% of its storage capacity remains,” says Pablo Valencia, Senior Manager of Battery Life Cycle Management. “This secondary use application extends its life and delivers waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale.”

A 74 kW solar array and two 2 kW wind turbines feed the administration building’s circuit breaker panel while the five Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building and an adjacent parking lot.

By generating approximately 100 MWh of energy annually, this strategy achieves net-zero energy use.

The batteries can also provide backup power to the facility for four hours in the event of an outage and store it when unneeded. Excess energy is sent back to the grid.

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