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Powin, SMA America in 2GW deal for BESS components


Powin Energy will source components from SMA America for 2GW of battery storage systems.

SMA America, the regional subsidiary of German solar inverter manufacturer SMA announced the signing of a framework agreement with US battery storage system designer and manufacturer Powin yesterday.

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The two-year agreement covers servicing as well as the supply of SMA systems solutions equipment. Putting the multi-year deal in place will give Powin predictability over pricing of projects as well as more certainty over component availability.

SMA’s solutions include string and central inverters including its SMA Sunny Central Storage battery inverter which is configured for system voltages up to 1500V.

The company offers both AC-coupled and DC-coupled solutions, making them suitable for the range of different hybrid and standalone battery storage projects demanded by the US market.

With the US energy storage market entering “a new stage of transformative growth,” the SMA deal would help Powin to “meet the growing demand and provide our customers with more flexibility in choosing their preferred power conversion technology,” Powin president Anthony Carroll said.  

Power conversion system (PCS) technology is vitally important to the success of a battery storage project. Earlier this year, Powin executive VP Danny Lu said in an interview with this site that inverters represent a relatively small portion of overall project cost but dictate to a greater extent how well the BESS functions.

As with other battery storage system integrators and manufacturers like Fluence, Powin sources components including inverters and battery cells from a range of different providers, maintaining a technology agnostic stance on selection.

In September, Powin acquired EKS Energy, a Spain-headquartered inverter, PCS and power plant controller manufacturer, which the US company said would enable it to create a complete AC energy storage platform that can interface with multiple generation assets and meet the different grid code requirements in multiple territories.

Danny Lu said that EKS Energy’s experience on working on projects in a variety of different markets meant that the Seville-headquartered company had valuable know-how in making systems adaptable to perform different applications, like islanding from the grid and black starting power plants.

However, Lu and chief product officer KJ Plank were quick to point out that Powin will also continue to work with third-party PCS providers, having to date worked with most of the Tier 1 companies, according to Lu.    

As reported by yesterday, Powin is in talks with Kontrolmatik, a Turkish company looking to set up lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cell and pack manufacturing in the US, for a possible multi-gigawatt off-take deal. Powin leadership has previously said it welcomed efforts to establish battery cell manufacturing capabilities in the country and also nearshored its North American BESS assembly to contract OEM Celestica in Mexico.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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