Iowa’s First Solar and Storage Power Plant Goes Live

The cutting edge facility incorporates both single-axis tracking and vanadium-flow battery energy storage.

Maharishi University of Management’s new solar power plant, designed and installed by Ideal Energy powered up for the first time in Mid-December.

Solar power

The cutting edge facility incorporates both single-axis tracking and vanadium-flow battery energy storage.

The plant is the first system of its kind in the Midwest and among the most technologically advanced solar installations in the United States.

The power plant uses NX Flow Avalon batteries which have an extraordinarily long service life.

The project also includes a 1.05 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system, which works in tandem with solar energy to reduce MUM’s energy costs by ‘peak shaving’ –  drawing power from the solar panels or batteries instead of from the grid during expensive peak times of the day.

The University’s new solar and storage power plant, along with two smaller solar arrays and a small wind turbine, will bring the University’s renewable energy share to 43%.

It will directly power 1/3 of the campus’s electricity usage. By combining active tracking technology with battery energy storage MUM will cut its electric utility costs by a projected 30%.

The state-of-the-art solar power plant will also serve as an energy research facility. Ideal Energy, Iowa State University, and MUM will conduct studies on solar production and battery storage with research grant funding provided by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

“We’ve designed and built other solar plus storage arrays, but this is the most advanced so far,” said Troy Van Beek, founder and CEO of Ideal Energy. “It perfectly matches MUM’s needs and checks all the boxes – tracking, battery energy storage, and artificial intelligence.”

“We believe it will serve as a model for other universities,” he added.

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Manu Tayal

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.