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NYC Poised to Become One Big "Battery" Park As Battery Storage for Buildings Becomes More

While the negative nelly naysayers remind us that battery back up power storage is far from a practical reality, across the electric heart of Gotham City, exciting battery storage projects are underway. These inspiring projects counter the damaging media messages such as the October 2014 report from Bloomberg which declared: "Battery Backup for Rooftop Solar Power Systems Too Costly."

I say damaging when referring to such reports because this kind of "we aren't there yet" rhetoric influences the public to buy into the myth that we can not rely on wind, solar and other forms of “intermittent" renewable energy. In actuality, we are are on the precipice of enormous, positive change. To help foster positive momentum in this direction, the news about green power and energy storage should express the enthusiasm deserved. Why not use titles like "Battery Backup for Rooftop Solar Power Taking Off" and express the awe of our green future, a filling with wonder akin to seeing new land after a long, difficult sea crossing: "OMG- Look - we are almost there! How exciting!!"

Affordable battery storage technology is already available. Places like the Brooklyn Army Terminal (depicted above) have connected large capacity battery storage to large solar arrays that give the Big Green Apple a post-Super-Storm resiliency that is sure to spread across the city.

Barclay Tower NYC.jpg

In 2012 Glenwood Management installed Manhattan's first battery-based, intelligent energy storage system providing 225 kilowatts (kW) of power with 2 megawatt hours (MWh) of stored energy capacity to a New York City high rise. The Joule.System™ designed by Demand Energy Networks, Inc. is located at Glenwood's flagship property, Barclay Tower, (pictured above), a 58-story luxury residential high rise located at 10 Barclay Street near the new World Trade Center, New York.

Demand Energy envisions deploying these larger systems for Glenwood and other customers in buildings throughout Manhattan. The systems could become linked together as part of a large scalable array of systems. Imagine, a network akin to building a power plant throughout the heart of the city that produces zero emissions.

Urban Electric Power and ARPA-E using CUNY technology to develop zinc battery st

Urban Electric Power (UEP) is a Harlem, NY-based clean energy spin-out company of the CUNY Energy Institute. UEP is commercializing the advanced zinc anode rechargeable battery technology first developed at the CUNY Energy Institute with funding from Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Battery banks being developed in Harlem (pictured above) will be safe, low cost, rechargeable, long lifecycle batteries that could be used as modular distributed storage for the electrical grid. The batteries could be used at the building level to capture and store renewable energy for use when the grid fails.

UEP is also working with The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to install 100 kW of battery storage with a new data center relocated, due to flooding, from the first to the top floor of the campus building. The battery bank will dovetail nicely with the 300 kW solar array to be installed on the roof.

View of City Lights Building in Queens.jpg

From corporate towers to Canarsie walk-ups, NYC is poised to become one large "battery" park. Another example is the 42 story Citylights building in Queens, (pictured above). Citylights is building a 300 kW battery bank with Missouri-based EaglePicher Technologies. The installation was raised 6 feet to comply with New York's revised Post Super Storm Sandy flood maps.

And, it is not just institutions and big developers building battery storage systems. When Super Storm Sandy slammed NYC, Chris Mejia of Consolidated Solar didn't wait to help out. Chris’s company, a distributor for portable solar generators made by DC Solar Solutions, brought trailers with a solar unit/battery to the rescue to assist areas without power. (Pictured above)

And, one more thing: To All Those Crazy Enough to Spend Thousands of Dollars a Square Foot to buy a luxury penthouse apartment at the top of a large glass tower, listen up. You might want to tell the developer/marketing agent, if they want your green bucks, they need to include some building integrated photo voltaics and a room for the battery back up storage. (If there's room for a wine cooler, there's room for some batteries.) Do you really want to spend tens of millions on an apartment and not have power when the grid goes down?

And, it's not just the uber rich that should be looking to incorporate some solar PV and battery back up systems into urban life. Of course, everyone should have a few portable solar PV chargers like the many offered by Goal Zero. But, if you want a secure, safe and resilient home base, think about getting a small battery bank.

Look for more news here at New York Green Advocate about how NYC is leading the way toward a resilient future by generating more local power and creating advanced technology energy storage throughout our glorious city.

Copyright 2014 Paul E McGinniss

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