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Race is on for battery storage developers to take advantage of UK ancillary services, says Sungrow

Sungrow, which supplied Samsung SDI batteries through a partnership, has said the UK’s ancillary services market is attracted significant interest from investors.

Energy storage investors in Britain will need to have their projects in the ground by June next year at the latest if they are to take advantage of the lucrative new ancillary services market set to be implemented by National Grid, according to Sungrow’s European managing director.

The Chinese PV inverter supplier and system integrator, which has a partnership to deploy Samsung SDI batteries in stationary storage installations, has said that the UK sector is awash with investors, funds and other financial backers seeking to position themselves ahead of the new tranche of products currently under development by transmission network operator (TNO) National Grid, as well as future capacity market auctions.

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Speaking at the Solar & Storage Live event in England earlier this month, Sungrow's Stephen Wang explained that the company is expecting a mixture of services within the current market – including Triad (a form of time-of-use pricing for commercial entities based on high demand periods during winter) and grid services like firm frequency response (FFR) and enhanced frequency response (EFR), worth a considerable amount in isolation – will be combined into single grid service auctions.

Wang added that the market is expecting this mixture of services to offer an internal rate of return (IRR) between 16.8-21.7%, making it a considerably lucrative – and competitive – market, even compared to the current competitive activity across the varying, isolated service auctions.

He said this potential had already attracted a range of international investors and funding companies, with “big players” in China also seeking to get involved.

Sungrow made 2GWh reservation with Samsung SDI ahead of anticipated demand ramp-up

Sungrow is therefore seeking to make contact with investors and funds looking to deploy storage, particularly as the company reserved 2GWh-worth of raw materials at the start of the year in conjunction with battery provider, Samsung SDI.

With shortages in these materials reported in a number of markets, Sungrow can offer the majority of customers satisfactory delivery of batteries thanks to this move at the beginning of the financial year. However, a small number – around 20% – of projects could have to wait at least three months and as long as six for more materials to become available.

This is due to the increased demand for battery projects heading into winter, when storage units need to be in place to catch Triad periods and follow up on pre-qualification applications to the next capacity market auctions in early 2018.

With the UK market set to become an even more compelling arena for large scale storage, Sungrow is therefore calling on the investment community to move quickly and position themselves for the new financial opportunities to come.

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