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How Shipping Containers Are Being Used in Energy

shipping container energy storage

The growing shift toward renewable energy is not slowing down. The United States alone forecasts solar power generation to grow 75% by 2025, with wind power generation expected to grow 11%. As the industry grows rapidly, it’s becoming more apparent to renewable energy companies that the existing infrastructure can’t keep up. Fortunately, industry leaders are coming to the same realization Falcon Structures had nearly two decades ago: What if we modify a shipping container to fix this problem?

We’re excited about the many ways renewable energy companies are repurposing shipping containers to grow the abundance of clean energy. Here are a few clever modified container energy storage solutions we’re keeping our eyes on, as well as a few we’ve already built out for our customers in the energy industry.

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)

A BESS stores energy in batteries for later use. It’s a critical technology for enhancing energy efficiency, reliability, and the integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid. These systems are made of large, expensive, and temperature-sensitive components. Some companies opt for custom BESS enclosures, but the time and cost of a traditionally built structure are substantial drawbacks. Instead, many are turning toward modified shipping containers.

BESS Shipping Container Enclosures

  • Ideal size – 20 and 40-foot containers are large enough to store industrial-sized batteries, power conversion systems, and the required monitors and controls.
  • Durable – Interior components of a BESS are expensive and sensitive. A container’s corten steel exterior protects them from the elements and vandalism.
  • Customizable – Shipping containers can be modified to include vital HVAC systems to keep sensitive equipment in a controlled climate.

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Wind Energy

You’ll also find BESS shipping containers paired with wind farms, storing excess energy produced by turbines to be released when needed. But wind energy presents its own infrastructure challenges due to its rural locations, required maintenance, and valuable equipment. Leaders in wind energy prioritize efficiency with the help of modified containers in several ways.

Wind Energy Storage Solution

  • Secure site storage – Because wind farms tend to be in remote areas, companies need a secure space to store spare parts and equipment for routine maintenance. Containers, which are inherently secure, serve this function well.
  • Electrical control rooms – Shipping containers can be modified to include climate control to protect sensitive wind energy equipment like inverters, transformers, and more.
  • Remote workspace – Wind energy technicians often have to travel substantial distances to reach their jobsite. A container office at these remote wind farms gives teams a place to meet, conduct administrative work, and cool off or warm up in extreme temperatures.

Portable Solar Power Units

Portable solar power units are self-contained systems that generate, store, and supply electricity. Their inherent purpose is portability, making them ideal to use where grid electricity is unavailable, like disaster relief or military operations. Falcon Structures modified 11 20-foot containers similarly for EWX, complete with a custom top canopy with 15 solar panels. The canopy expands to collect energy and retracts for transportation.

The benefits of a modified container for this purpose aren’t restricted to EWX. Other solar energy companies are adopting similar container designs.

Container-based Portable Solar Power Units

  • Easily portable – The container-based unit can be loaded onto a flatbed or chassis for easy relocation to areas without grid power.
  • Durable exterior – The inverters and batteries within the container are highly sensitive, valuable, and prone to malfunction if exposed to the elements.
  • Modifiable – Containers can be modified to include a door for technician access, HVAC systems to keep electronics cool, and firewalls to enclose flammable material like lithium-ion batteries.

energy blog ewx

Electric Vehicle Charging

As the number of electric vehicles (EV) on the road grows, so must the number of EV charging stations. Conventional charging stations are time-consuming and expensive to construct. Many companies struggle to find land to create permanent installations, especially if they’re leasing property. We’ve had conversations with customers about using container-based charging stations for their fleets of electric vehicles, and we think this particular container solution will become more common in the coming years.

Shipping Container EV Charging Stations

  • Shorter setup – Containers undergo modifications at the factory while the site is prepared, substantially shortening the time to usability.
  • Temporary – Container charging stations can stay in place for the long term, but they can also be picked up and relocated without requiring much site restoration on temporary land leases.
  • Scalable – As a customer’s EV charging needs grow, like a school district introducing fleets of electric buses, containers manufactured in a factory like Falcon’s can be produced quickly and as needed.

Modified shipping containers are prized for their durability, modularity, and portability. All of these features play a substantial role in container solutions for the energy industry. The demand for sustainable energy solutions will continue to grow, and with it, we expect to see even more ingenious ways shipping containers can be repurposed.

Wondering if one of these applications might work for your business? Reach out to our team at 512-131-1010 or email us at Sales@FalconStructures.com.

83 Uses for ISO Shipping Containers

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