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Round-up: Another UK storage crowdfunder, Younicos expands again and Saft go to Mars

9 July, 2015: Saft is developing and testing lithium-ion batteries for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover.

The ESA and Roscosmos mission will launch in 2018 with the 300kg rover charged with the mission of finding life, extinct or otherwise, on the Red Plant.

The million euro contract with Airbus Defence and Space Ltd (UK) is to develop a system that can store solar power for uninterrupted operation of the rover during the Martian night.

Moixa's Maslow unit installed at a UK residence. Image: Moixa Technology.
Rival crowdfunders look for room in UK market

7 July, 2015: UK residential storage maker Moixa Technology looks to follow in the immediate footsteps of another British manufacturer in launching a crowd-funding drive as it looks to scale up for widespread launch.

Powervault, which makes lead-acid based systems in 2kWh and 4kWh sizes, recently raised £700,000 (US$1.1 million) through the Crowdcube platform. Joe Warren, Powervault CEO, said the company wanted to make an affordable system sized appropriately for British households, charging between US$2,000 and US$2,800 for an installed system.

Unlike Powervault however, which says it developed its product based on the needs of and demand from UK owners of rooftop PV, Moixa’s Maslow storage systems are currently also being trialled for their usefulness to the grid. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), awarded Moixa a pilot programme in 2013 to aggregate the capabilities of 250 Maslow devices in helping integrate renewables and lower peak demand as well as letting households store and use their onsite-generated solar power.

Through its latest crowdfunding drive, Moixa appears to be aiming to eclipse Powervault’s efforts, setting a target of £875,000 (US$1.35 million).

Younicos expands its 'non-CO2 producing sector of the world'

7 July, 2015: Large-scale storage specialist Younicos has made another operational expansion to build on the creation of three new business units back in February and the launch of a US consultation group in May. The company announced today that it will hire up to 50 more employees this year and anticipates hiring a further 100 new members of staff during 2016.

Launched by a group including renewable industry veterans in Germany in 2005, Younicos’ headquarters memorably features a sign which tells visitors they are leaving the “CO2 producing sector of the world” at the entrance.

Younicos also expanded its US headquarters in Austin, Texas earlier this year. The company said today it expects to execute projects in Europe, the US and Asia in future to add to its 100MW of systems already in operation. The company has carried out a combination of off-grid and remote projects to electrify rural or island areas as well as grid-connected systems that provide balancing services to electricity networks, including one in Germany completed in September last year which operates on a commercial basis.

The official opening of a Younicos facility in Germany that will operate on the local frequency response market on a commercial basis. Pictured is Germany's minister for economic affaris and energy, Sigmar Gabriel. Image: Younicos.


You are now leaving the CO2 producing sector of the world".
(sign at entrance to Younicos' offices).

NEC ES delivers another utility-scale solution to Southern California Edison

7 July, 2015: On Monday, PV Tech Storage’s sister site PV Tech reported California will adopt time-of-use charges for residential electricity bill-payers by early 2019, which could boost the economic attractiveness of small-scale storage systems. At the other end of the spectrum, NEC Energy Solutions has also announced the completion of a 2.4MW, 3.9MWh grid-connected battery system for the utility Southern California Edison.

The installation will support SCE’s distribution grid and will be the first large-scale energy storage device to do so. As implied from these two pieces of current news, California’s energy system is undergoing some revision at present. The three main investor owned utilities in the state, of which SCE is one, have issued their own plans for how to switch to greater levels of distributed energy resources, including solar and storage in response to mandates from the regulator to do so. California famously has in place AB2514, which orders the utilities to procure 1.3GW of energy storage by 2022. SCE has been among the most proactive of the utilities already in its storage procurement, awarding 235MW of battery energy storage projects as part of a local capacity requirement (LCR) request for offer (RFO) separate to the demands of the AB2514 mandate.

For the latest project, NEC Corporation and NEC Energy Solutions worked together on the seven week construction of the energy storage system built into a made-to-measure enclosure, as opposed to deploying the shipping container-style housings that large-scale systems appear typically to be delivered in by a number of providers, including NEC ES.

The system will be used to prevent the local circuit from overloading, and according to NEC, will be “providing many of the foundational aspects for future integrated distribution system deployment.”  

Cover image credit: Flickr User: Andy Armstrong.

The ExoMars rover.

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