Q CELLS’ first step into large-scale battery storage is acquisition of one of Texas’ biggest projects

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Inside Q CELLS’ PV module assembly plant in Dalton, Georgia. Image: Q CELLS.

Q CELLS has acquired a utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) project under development in Texas, marking the vertically-integrated solar PV and smart energy solutions company’s first standalone BESS project. 

The 190MW / 380MWh facility will be one of Texas’ largest projects of its type so far. Like most other large-scale battery systems in the US state, the project, called Sputnik Energy Storage, will operate in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. 

Q CELLS bought the project from Texas-headquartered greenfield solar PV and energy storage developer Belltown Power. Belltown said it has now sold 14 projects amounting to more than 2.5GW, most of which have been in the ERCOT or PJM Interconnection regional markets. 

The Q CELLS deal for Sputnik is Belltown’s first energy storage project transaction, with the developer moving into the standalone battery storage space in April 2021. Belltown at that time said it was setting a target of developing 1GW of battery storage to be brought online within three years.

Financial terms of the Sputnik deal were not disclosed.

Located in Hunt County, Sputnik is due for commissioning during 2022. It will be connected to the electricity grid of Rayburn County Electric Cooperative, a non-profit generation and transmission electric coop which provides wholesale electricity and transmission services to four electric distribution cooperative member organisations with a total of about 225,000 customers. 

‘We have positioned ourselves for exponential growth…’

Q CELLS is perhaps better known as a solar PV cell and module manufacturer internationally, but also develops, invests in and delivers PV and energy storage projects through its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and development businesses in the US. 

Q CELLS USA has provided turnkey solutions for 332MW of solar assets and has a development pipeline of more than 9GW of solar and energy storage projects.

“We have positioned ourselves for exponential growth through a nation-wide greenfield campaign and acquisition of solar and energy storage projects in the US and look forward to partnering with developers who need Q CELLS one-stop turnkey solutions,” Q CELLS USA head of development Vitaly Lee said. 

In Europe, Q CELLS makes and sells residential and commercial BESS, as well as whole home solutions combining solar, storage and other technologies that the company claims can make customers’ homes fully renewable energy-powered. 

In the US, the company has been building up its presence in battery storage: it has acquired energy storage software pioneer Growing Energy Labs Inc (Geli), largely with a view to taking on the commercial and industrial (C&I) market segment. 

In August, Q CELLS invested in a portfolio of solar-plus-storage projects developed by Amped Solutions through what it called a ‘grid equity investment’. In exchange for equity investment, Q CELLS would receive grid services revenues from community and C&I projects in California that Amped would own and earn other revenues from. 

Q CELLS’ parent company Hanwha Group also has another subsidiary, 174 Global, developing large-scale battery storage projects in the US, including a 100MW / 400MWh project at the site of a former fossil fuel power plant in New York.

Meanwhile, other recent projects covered by this site in Texas include two 100MW / 100MWh standalone battery storage projects commissioned a few weeks ago by independent power producer (IPP) Broad Reach Power and a solar-plus-storage power plant with 275MW of PV and 125MW of storage under construction by National Grid Renewables and partners. 

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