EV Batteries Get New Life at This Solar Farm

Spotted this in the wilds of the Internet yesterday and thought some of you (ahem @professor) would appreciate.

From Wired:

Millions of EV Batteries Could Retire to Solar Farms

“To make renewable energy from intermittent sources like solar and wind available when it is most needed, it’s becoming more common to use batteries to store the power as it’s generated and transmit it later. But one thing about the Cuyama facility, which began operations this month, is less common: The batteries sending energy to the grid once powered electric vehicles.”

What do you think? Does this idea have legs? Will it see the light of day? How soon?


That’s actually a good idea. An EV wants its heavy batteries to perform well but to repurpose them in a static setup while still some useful capacity and to store energy for overnight distribution helps.

Storage is half the problem. Take the UK for example


That’s a typical scenario of we consume more in evening when solar is less strong. The yellow line is solar input (peaks at noon)

So if you can store solar energy from it’s peak generation at noon to be put into the grid at the peak demand of evening, we’ve then needed to use of other sources which in UK’s case is gas burned at power stations.


It makes sense for a sunny place like California to use plenty of solar. Other places can make use of hydro or wind.

My own view is we have to use:

  • significant storage sources to move peaks of supply into peaks of demand
  • any locally useful renewables (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, etc)
  • nuclear for when storage isn’t sufficient and renewables not sufficient - e.g. for winter when an otherwise plentiful solar isn’t as available.

Anything we can do at home to move demand into peak renewables helps, e.g. if you do live in a solar plentiful supply area to make your discretionary demand go there. Say you did have an EV, recharging it from solar in the mid-morning to mid-afternoon makes sense.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. I don’t see ev batteries being reduced anytime soon so reusing them in different environments is going to be critical moving forward. Recycling the batteries can be very expensive (and toxic). Happy to see any improvements in this space for sure.


Woah, that’s a cool idea! Could be a good second life for kinda worn-out LiON batts. I read an article a while back about gravity power storage. Dams already do this to some extent with water and elevation, but it’s a fun concept to store and use potential energy!


I’m glad you all liked this content! That kinda makes my day!

1 Like