US solar development company Borrego Solar has launched a new energy storage division to focus on MW-scale deployments across the US.
The Massachusetts, US, based division marks the company’s first formal expansion into energy services beyond solar photovoltaics (PV).
Leclanché is to supply 500kWh of lithium titanate (LTO) batteries to store electricity at a 2MW solar PV park in Switzerland from next year.
The Swiss firm's batteries form part of a 2m Swiss franc ($2.2m) research project led by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) to study storing solar energy and subsequently be able to distribute it in an optimal way at times of peak consumption during the day, often called ‘time-shifting’.
US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin has acquired assets from flow battery energy storage firm Sun Catalytix.
Sun Catalytix, an MIT spinout startup, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary and operate under the name of Lockheed Martin Advanced Energy Storage in the future. 25 employees along with patents and the company’s business plan will become part of Lockheed Martin. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Chinese solar power supplier Shunfeng has bought 30% in stake of US-based Powin Energy for $25m through its fully owned subsidiary SF Suntech.
Powin Energy developed a 5MW lithium-ion energy storage system (ESS) with charging/discharging rates of more than 80% for grid-level, commercial and transportation applications and aims to install it at large-scale power plants. "This is an important milestone for Powin Energy Corporation in that it will provide us with capital and a partner to help implement our growth strategy," said Joseph Lu, president and chief executive officer of Powin Energy. The agreement will be used for further developments of the company’s ESS.
Samsung SDI is to provide 1MWh of lithium-ion batteries to a 1MW Edison Power solar PV farm on Kyushu island in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture.
The South Korean battery maker will initially supply 1MWh to the Kyushu PV plant and install more batteries at 20 PV farms, which Edison Power aims to built in various places like Hokkaido and Kyushu over the next five years. The battery costs around ¥100,000 ($971) per kWh.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and SMA Solar Technology (SMA) have opened two separate utility-scale solar plants with lithium-ion battery storage in Germany.
KIT inaugurated together with its partners SolarWatt (SW) and Kostal Solar Electric (KSE) a 1MW PV plant coupled with a 100kWh lithium-ion battery storage system at its research centre in Karlsruhe. The project focuses on demonstrating and researching energy storage and grid control. The PV modules were supplied from SW and the inverters from KSE.
Tesla Motors has teamed up with PV installer SolarCity to make a smart battery system for use with solar installations that will automate when energy is drawn from the PV system, the grid or the battery.
The system is called DemandLogic and allows businesses to reduce peak usage of electricity from the grid. The system would also provide backup power during blackouts and maintains grid stability.
Power-One, part of the ABB Group, is introducing a residential energy storage solution for the UK market. The energy storage system, called Renewable Energy Accumulator and Conversion Technology (REACT), will be available in 2014.
It will feature a 4.6kW single-phase grid connected Power-One inverter and a 2kWh lithium-ion battery.
The system is for use with home PV panels to capitalise on energy storage as feed-in tariffs are reduced over the coming years.
"PV energy has to be available upon demand, since its feed-in to the grid is no longer worthwhile," Paolo Casini, VP of Marketing, said.
"With REACT we enable homeowners and landlords to adjust energy production and consumption with their needs, helping them to increase self-consumption and save money on their energy bills with the energy storage solution."
The commercial sector of the solar energy storage market is projected to expand by a factor of 700 in the coming years and become the largest market segment in 2017, according to a report by analysts IHS.
Global installations of photovoltaic (PV) storage systems for commercial use are set to rise to 2.3 GW in 2017, up from a mere 3.2 MW in 2012, according to the report entitled “The Role of Energy Storage in the PV Industry”.
This will increase the commercial segment’s share of PV installations to 40% in 2017, up from 5% in 2012.
Concerns about energy rates and grid reliability are prevalent in the North American commercial market. Consequently, North America is expected to lead the world in commercial PV storage, accounting for more than 40 percent of installations in 2017.
Another lucrative region for commercial PV energy storage is Japan, where electrical blackouts are common following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Also on a fast growth track is Germany, where self-consumption of PV energy is becoming increasingly financially attractive.
Abigail Ward, PV analyst at HIS, said: “Installations in the commercial PV sector potentially can reach the point of payback much more quickly than those in the residential area. This will encourage many PV storage suppliers to enter the business in the coming years.”