Smartville Inc., an electric vehicle (EV) battery-repurposing innovator, has been awarded $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) as part of a $325 million investment to develop long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. Smartville will lead one of 15 projects that will provide real-world benefits to local power systems, mitigate risks associated with disruptions to the grid and help communities develop reliable and affordable energy systems.
Smartville will deploy its Smartville 360™ energy storage systems (ESS) in six locations across four states. The Smartville 360 systems will use repurposed EV battery packs sourced domestically in the U.S. from retired electric vehicles. The systems will provide grid resiliency and backup power while simultaneously helping lower energy costs for senior centers, low-income multi-family affordable housing complexes and EV charging facilities in San Diego, Atlanta, New Orleans, Orangeburg and Denmark, S.C. In total, more than 7 MWh of battery capacity will be installed.
In developing the proposed projects, Smartville received key support from the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition (CDAC) and four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that include Denmark Technical College, Claflin University, South Carolina State University and Dillard University in New Orleans. Additional key collaborators include the George McKinney Retirement Center and JBM Energy Solutions in San Diego, Luna Development in Virginia, Southern Company, Georgia Power and Cox Automotive.
"Smartville is incredibly excited to work with this amazing group of partners bringing innovative and clean energy solutions to communities in so many different regions," said Mike Ferry, president of Smartville. "Recycled batteries from electric vehicles are the most sustainable and environmentally friendly form of battery energy storage. Smartville's mission is to give these batteries a second life as reliable and domestically produced storage assets. We look forward to working closely with our partners who share our commitment to an equitable and clean energy future."
"CDAC has long been a recognized player in the community economic development space. We were founded based on a need to convene and advocate on behalf of under-resourced communities – leveraging, empowering, engaging HBCUs as strategic partners. We rely on partnerships, such as those exemplified in the application put forth by Smartville, to operationalize our mission and vision to benefit HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions," said Ron Butler, CEO, HBCU Community Development Action Coalition.
"Smartville's energy storage technologies and cutting-edge methods to repurpose EV batteries are helping underserved communities develop affordable energy systems," said California Rep. Mike Levin. "Congratulations on this well-deserved grant and I look forward to more funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law coming to our district to strengthen energy durability in our communities."
"This LDES project builds on previous outcomes from CDAC's work in successfully aggregating and partnering with HBCUs, including those presented in Smartville's application. This project advances the work CDAC is doing alongside private developer Luna Development Services and Renaissance Equity Partners in Orangeburg," said Henry Golatt, chief of strategy and partnerships for CDAC. "The project also expands CDAC's efforts to other HBCUs, including Denmark Technical College and Dillard University."
"CDAC, via its Clean Energy Initiative, sees this collaboration as a critical component in our execution of the HBCU GreenTown Model," said Karen Soares, program director for the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative. "Long duration battery storage brings energy resiliency to our HBCU campuses and communities. This will not only help institutions with their own power consumption needs, but it will also position them as backup power resources for the communities they serve."
"Denmark Technical College has a strategic focus centered on 'Putting the Tech Back,'" said Dr. Willie Todd, president of Denmark Technical College. "This project allows us to execute on that focus by adding both industry-specific career and technical training, as well as project and partner-specific workforce development opportunities."
"Through this project with Smartville, we're teaching the importance of environmental responsibility," said Dr. Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard University. "We hope to create pipelines and pathways to future high wage-paying careers for STEM and engineering majors while also embracing a 'Communiversity' vision."
"The Railroad Corner Development represents a $37 million, multi-phase adaptive reuse project that spans three acres in downtown Orangeburg," said Mike Glen, CEO of Luna Development Services. "This collaboration with Smartville will directly benefit two of South Carolina's participating HBCUs – South Carolina State and Claflin Universities – while providing additional opportunities to others wishing to learn from Luna Development and HBCU-CDAC's inclusive development model."