“Big Blue Cart” Proves To Be The Right Tool For The Job In Decorah

Alliant Energy’s Decorah Battery Project is made up of several containers filled with the latest innovations in energy storage technology.

“Each of the racks in the main container holds twelve batteries at heights varying from ankle-high to well over your head,” said Rick Zimmerman, Alliant Energy Senior Strategic Project Engineer. “We needed to make the installation not only easier, but also safer.”

RackLift™ powered by a hand crank or Electric Drill played one of the most important roles in getting the battery in-service safely and quickly.

Enter The Big Blue Cart

“We needed to make the installation not only easier, but also safer.”

Alliant Energy and RackLift™ engineers worked together to design a custom loading cart for this project.  The final product took 3660 pounds off the shoulders of the contractors who loaded the lithium-ion modules into the battery container.  Each of the 360 modules weighs 100 pounds and is about the size of a desktop computer.

“I can’t imagine trying to load all of those modules without the RackLift™,” said Mike McArthur, Project Manager for Eilertson Inc., Alliant Energy’s contractor for battery installation. “Once we got the hang of it –  we’d unpack a battery, crank it up to the right height and then slide it forward into the rack. By the time we reset the cart, the next module was unpacked and ready to go.”

“The technicians love the RackLift™ and say it has made all the difference loading the batteries.  They can unpack a battery and install it in the time it takes to unpack the next one. So once they get in a good rhythm they just fly.”

“We’ll certainly look to replicate what we learned here at future battery projects.” said Sarah Martz, Alliant Energy Manager of Distribution Engineering.

The 2.5-megawatt, 2.922-megawatt-hour battery will serve as an “electron bank” to store excess solar power in a town with a high concentration of customer-owned generation.

RackLift Battery Lift