Blue Planet Energy is supporting renewable education in the Midwest by donating energy storage systems to educational institutions. This case study details the challenges and solutions associated with supporting renewable education in the Midwest.
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit dedicated to educating communities on renewable energy and sustainable living. Year-round, MREA teaches best practices for living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and offers professional training for those looking to join the clean energy workforce. To bring greater awareness of the energy storage technologies available in the market, Blue Planet Energy donated its Blue Ion HI battery system to be showcased in MREA’s energy storage lab.
Whether someone is looking to start a career in the renewable energy field, maintain a credential, or install solar on their own home, MREA offers a variety of courses to advance a person’s skills through online and in-person learning options. More specifically, contractors, solar installers, electricians, and inspectors can participate in a technical deep dive of the technologies and products in the renewable energy industry. Of MREA’s most recent additions is the creation of its Energy Storage System Tech Center, or more casually called, its energy storage lab.
A mix between a showroom and a training center, the energy storage lab showcases the premier residential energy storage systems on the market, where installers can receive training on each different product and homeowners can explore what each different system entails.
“We reached out to Blue Planet Energy for a donation not only because the Blue Ion batteries are a great product, but also because their company’s vision is a natural fit with our mission of bettering the planet and our people.”
Nick Matthes, Solar Project Manager at MREA
MREA’s energy storage lab started small, consisting of only a few legacy battery technologies. As the thought of bringing hands-on interaction with battery storage systems to the community grew, MREA decided to upgrade its lab with the market’s latest storage technologies like Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion HI. Now, the lab includes Panasonic EverVolt AC, EverVolt DC, Tesla Powerwall 2, Generac PWRcell, Span smart breaker panel, Victron Multiplus, Enphase IQ series equipment, and SolarEdge HD waves. Each system is connected to rooftop solar - a split test between monofacial and bifacial panels - and fully operational.
“We opted for Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion HI because it’s built with rock-solid technology, designed for longevity, and leaves a smaller environmental footprint, which is something that’s really important to us,” said Nick Matthes, Solar Project Manager at MREA. “Blue Planet Energy also has a great reputation for battery management and communications capabilities. We’re happy to have them as a partner on our mission of training the solar professionals of today and the future.”
When it came to installing the donated 8 kW Blue Ion HI, Nick and his team also appreciated the thorough installation instructions and the level of thought that went into the design of the battery, which provided multiple knockout locations that made it easy to pipe and wire conduits. Blue Planet Energy’s live customer support provided additional, detailed explanations in real-time.
The versatility and reliability of Blue Planet Energy also made the Blue Ion HI a valuable addition to MREA’s new training lab. From new systems to existing installations, and from small residential systems to utility-scale projects, Blue Planet Energy batteries can work in numerous solar-plus-storage configurations and are designed with an industry-leading battery lifespan and warranty.
“Our donation program is core to our mission and how we further support communities and partners who share our environmental values.” Chris Johnson, Blue Planet Energy, CEO
Since the doors opened at the energy storage lab, MREA visitors were impressed by the wide variety of energy storage systems available and even more surprised by seeing the differences between each system lined up side by side.
With the Blue Ion HI, visitors first noticed its size-to-quality ratio. Though slightly deeper than other enclosure options, the Blue Ion HI is very energy dense for its sleek size. A single cabinet can fit 16 kWh and is made with a stable lithium iron phosphate chemistry. Plus, the Blue Ion HI offers 100 percent depth of discharge. Comparing the benefits of each battery side by side also created the opportunity for consumers to think more carefully about the importance of battery chemistry in their energy storage system. Made with environmentally-benign materials, Blue Planet Energy’s batteries are inherently safer than competing battery chemistries.
“Knowing that the Blue Ion HI is one of the leading battery systems available, and Blue Planet Energy is focused on quality products and environmental stewardship, we knew this would be a great way to get more installers trained on it and promote it to the public sphere,” added Nick.