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Chinese clean energy players CATL, Jinkosolar, Sungrow take battery storage to Japan market


At World Smart Energy Week in Japan last week CATL, Jinkosolar and Sungrow exhibited battery storage products, with the country’s utility-scale BESS and commercial and industrial (C&I) markets showing strong potential.

The Tokyo show plays host to a number of co-located exhibition and conference strands, including PV Expo and Battery Japan. While it had been much quieter than usual during the first two years of the pandemic, the show attracted tens of thousands of guests in years prior to that.

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Held last week, the 2023 show marked a return to that previous form, and while video of the event shows guests to be masked up as a safety measure, the numbers looked healthy.

CATL, the world’s biggest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, also makes complete energy storage solutions including racks, cabinets and containerised battery energy storage system (BESS) units. The company exhibited the range at international shows last year including RE+ 2022 in California, US, where it also announced a 10GWh multi-year supply deal with system integrator FlexGen, as well as a similarly-sized deal a few months later with the UK’s Gresham House.

At the Tokyo expo, CATL showcased its cell-to-pack (CTP) solutions for larger scale commercial and utility applications, including its EnerOne modular liquid cooled battery storage solution for outdoor installation and EnerC, its containerised units.

Both use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells and are certified to international standards, as well as having received test reporting for UL 96540A cell, module and installation level testing. The systems’ independent liquid-cooling plates outside the modules maintain temperature difference between cells to within 3℃ at rack level and within 5℃ when containerised.

Meanwhile JinkoSolar, rated as one of the members of the Solar Module Super League of manufacturers by our colleagues at PV Tech, launched its SunGiga liquid-cooled battery storage product at the Tokyo event.

The Japanese commercial and industrial (C&I) market segment has a strong business case for peak shaving applications, and SunGiga is aimed at this segment. Compatible with 1000V and 1500V DC systems, each cabinet has up to 344kWh capacity in eight battery modules.

It can be configured in system sizes from 500kWh to 2MWh, suitable for up to 4-hour durations, with integrated power conversion system (PCS), switchgear and fire protection system. It comes with automatic state of charge (SoC) calibration, while the liquid cooling and other thermal management can keep temperature difference within 2℃, JinkoSolar claimed.

Together with Jinko’s n-type TOPCon (tunnel oxide passivated contact) solar PV cells, the BESS creates what the company described as a comprehensive solar-plus-storage offering.  

Similarly, Sungrow, also a major player in solar PV from China, exhibited its liquid-cooled PowerTitan energy storage system (ESS) for utility-scale applications, as part of its complete portfolio together with residential and C&I products.

Launched fairly recently and featured in a PV Tech Tech Talk webinar in November 2022, Sungrow claimed more than 9GWh of orders have been booked for PowerTitan globally already. The system features a DC-DC controller, which can charge and discharge individual battery racks.

Sungrow said PowerTitan is being launched in Japan to capture growing promise in the utility-scale space, which the company said “holds great potential, especially for the demand for frequency regulation”.

As reported by yesterday, battery manufacturer Gotion High-Tech from China’s Anhui Province also entered that market through a strategic cooperation deal with Japanese renewables platform Edison Power.

Quoted in yesterday’s report, Japan solar market analyst Chris Wilkinson from Rystad Energy wrote of the strong need for BESS integration into Japan’s energy markets – currently a stated aim of the government’s ‘Green Transformation’ policy – in an article published in our quarterly technical journal, PV Tech Power (vol.34).’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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