NEC’s battery storage division going out of business – report

By Andy Colthorpe
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A project in Britain supplied with systems by NEC for investor Gore Street. Image: NEC / Gore Street.

NEC’s Energy Solutions division, which has been responsible for NEC Corporation’s activities in the battery energy storage industry, is “going out of business” according to a report by Bloomberg today.

The Massachusetts-headquartered division was previously known as A123 Energy Solutions and has been a subsidiary of the Japanese electronics major since its acquisition in 2014 for US$100 million, when it was the energy storage systems business of lithium battery maker A123 Systems, owned by Chinese automotive components company Wanxiang.

The company has since delivered 986MW across 141 battery energy storage projects in the grid-scale and commercial sectors. The Bloomberg article said that a plan to sell the division off had been “thwarted” by the COVID-19 pandemic, that an “orderly winding down” has been announced to customers and that CEO Steve Fludder, who joined the company in 2017, has stepped down with immediate effect.

The Bloomberg report said despite a global reach, the division had found its activities unprofitable. Bloomberg reported that the NEC Energy Solutions has battery maintenance contracts lasting to March 2030 and will remain open until then, although the company, which makes GSS (Grid Storage Solution) and Distributed Storage Solution (DSS), will not be actively seeking new projects.

Major projects in key US territories such as New York have recently been executed using NEC technologies, while recent distribution partnerships had been signed with the likes of US automated and intelligent energy storage company Stem Inc to try and cover as much market share in North America as possible. At the beginning of this year the company revealed it had been contracted by UK listed fund Gore Street Capital to power up a 100MW pipeline in Northern Ireland, while it also delivered or announced projects in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic in the early part of 2020. 

Representatives for NEC Energy Solutions’ Asia-Pacific office in Tokyo had recently also told Energy-Storage.news that it expected to see sales pick up in Japan's commercial and industrial (C&I) segment over the next two to three years and that the wider Asia market held great potential.

Energy-Storage.news has approached NEC for confirmation and further details. More to follow.

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