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Renault looks to drive UK storage boom with second-life Powervault deal

Image: Powervault.

French car maker Renault has brokered a partnership to provide second-life battery units to UK home storage supplier Powervault.

The duo said the deal would help Powervault bring domestic energy storage to a “tipping point” and allow them to reduce the cost of a Powervault-branded battery unit by 30%.

Powervault will install 50 trial units in homes of consumers with rooftop solar PV panels in order to analyse the technical performance of second-life batteries. The trial will be run with eligible M&S Energy customers as well as social housing tenants and schools across the south east.

The trial will start next month and last a year, with social housing tenants and schools in the Royal Borough of Greenwich among the recipients.

Findings from the trial will help feed into Powervault’s strategy for a mass-market roll-out of battery storage solutions.

Joe Warren, managing director at Powervault, said the collaboration between his company, Renault and M&S was an “important milestone” towards storage achieving mainstream adoption.

The use of second-life batteries taken from electric vehicles is nothing new. Nissan’s xStorage range, developed in collaboration with Eaton, includes models that use second-life batteries from the car manufacturer’s LEAF range. Those units are to retail more cheaply than new batteries, offering a more affordable solution for homes.

Nicolas Schottey, program director for EV batteries and infrastructures at Renault, said: “Thanks to this home energy storage partnership with Powervault, Renault is adding a new element into its global strategy for second life batteries, which already covers a large number of usages from industrial to residential building and districts. The second life use not only gives additional life to electric vehicle batteries before they are recycled, but also allow consumers to save money. It’s a win-win-win: for EV owners, home-owners and the planet.”

UK firm to run another crowdfunder

Meanwhile Powervault has also announced its intention to launch another crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube in order to accelerate its product development, backed by a business plan setting out how it intends to sell 30,000 units by 2020.

The firm previously raised just shy of £1.5 million (US$1.94 million) through a CrowdCube listing which originally started in 2015. 

Speaking to Clean Energy News, Powervault MD Joe Warren revealed that the company was now looking to raise between £2.5 million and £5 million through a combination of crowdfunding and other investors, particularly institutional and high net worth individuals, a number of which it was already in discussion with.

The new CrowdCube campaign will have an initial target of £750,000.