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Volvo electric bus batteries get second day in the sun after being repurposed for solar energy storage

Volvo is working on Europe’s first energy warehouse that gives electric bus batteries a new lease of life as solar energy storage

Old batteries from electric buses in Sweden are being given a new use as solar energy storage.

Volvo first introduced electric buses to Gothenburg in 2015 along its route 55.

Disused batteries from these buses will now be repurposed as energy storage for apartment blocks that are fitted with solar panels.

Tenants of the Viva housing cooperative – one of the city’s sustainable housing initiatives – will be the first to benefit.

The battery warehouse, which consists of 14 used lithium-ion electric bus batteries, can store up to 200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy that can be saved for peaks in energy consumption or sold back to the grid.

Ylva Olofsson, project coordinator at Volvo, shows off the new solar energy storage solution
Ylva Olofsson, project coordinator at Volvo, shows off the new solar energy storage solution

Ylva Olofsson, project coordinator at Volvo, said: “We know that electric bus batteries have good potential for other applications such as energy storage after the end of their life in public transport.

“What we are examining here is exactly how good that potential is.

“Use of the batteries in an energy warehouse gives them an extended service life which in turn means better resource utilisation and less environmental impact.”


Why solar energy storage is needed

Energy storage is currently a major stumbling block in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

The output of coal and gas-powered generators can be easily regulated to bring more power to the grid during peak times.

In contrast, renewable energy sources are dependent on factors that are out of human control, such as wind or solar energy, so are not always able to increase their output of electricity to match demand.

The project was supported by the EU project IRIS, which aims to research innovative green energy solutions, modern mobility and tech innovation within five “lighthouse cities” across Europe.

Volvo is not the first car manufacturer to venture into the solar power market, with Nissan and Tesla both developing their own solar energy storage solution for homes.