The solar-powered homes in the EcoVillage, which double up as student accommodation, were constructed by S&T’s very own students for the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Energy Solar Decathlon competitions. A fusion between research and industry, CBI Missouri-based members EnerSys and NorthStar Battery provided advanced lead batteries for the energy storage systems installed in the homes.
Part of a microgrid, the role of the batteries is to be a reliable source of power in case of grid outage. Connected to the solar panels on the roof of the homes, the batteries undergo daily micro charge and discharge cycles as solar generation fluctuates. For the last two years, the advanced lead batteries have successfully provided a high level of performance required by the system, demonstrating their qualities as a robust and reliable energy storage technology.
The EcoVillage and the Solar Village living laboratories fall under S&T’s Center for Research in Energy and Environment. The center aims to utilize the living laboratories to expand research opportunities in sustainable and resilient housing, smart home technologies, and solar energy with energy storage. S&T is also looking at opportunities to offer training courses in solar energy and energy storage. A recent Funding Opportunity Announcement from the US DoE identified the need to train first responders on the unique requirements for buildings with renewable energy and energy storage.
In addition to first responders, the EcoVillage solar homes and lead battery energy storage systems provide the opportunity to provide hands-on training to installers, maintainers, code enforcers, and inspectors of renewable energy and energy storage systems.
There is an identified need in our area for this type of training and workforce development opportunity. Our vision is to develop the EcoVillage with additional resources and classroom space to provide both hands-on and classroom training to create a pipeline of highly trained individuals who can support the growth of renewable energy and energy storage in Missouri.
Interested in touring the EcoVillage or bringing a class to visit? Please visit https://cree.mst.edu/laboratories/ and complete the Request a Tour form.