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Roundup: First ever ‘blackstart’ battery, Li-Ion for Haiti and Solarmax goes storage

The Los Angeles office boosts sonnen’s existing US manufacturing presence and R&D facility in Atlanta. Source: Sonnen.
Sonnen accelerates US activities with new office and series of partnerships

29 January 2016: German energy storage manufacturer sonnen has accelerated its move into the US with the opening of a new office in Los Angeles and a collaboration with PV module manufacturer SolarWorld USA.

The Los Angeles office boosts sonnen’s existing US manufacturing presence and R&D facility in Atlanta.

The SolarWorld deal will see sonnen’s batteries paired with solar panels in a solar plus storage package. The offer will be provided through roofing firm PetersonDean and its Solar4America programme that seeks uses US made products only.

Sonnen also announced that had been added to the approved manufacturer list of residential solar and energy efficiency financer Spruce.

Germany's vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel attended the 2014 opening of the WEMAG 5MW / 5MWh battery park. Image: Younicos.
Revived Solarmax to hit Europe's energy storage markets

28 January 2016: Solar inverter manufacturer Solarmax has announced its entry into the energy storage market.

The company restarted production of central and string inverters under a new owner in October of last year after going into insolvency under previous owner Sputnik Engineering in 2014.

Solarmax had already started marketing storage-ready inverters before hitting the rocks, showcasing them at the Intersolar Europe show in 2014. Formerly headquartered in Switzerland, production of Solarmax inverters has been located in Burgau, Germany since the sale of the company.

According to the company it will provide inverters for systems of between 2kW and 16kW at the smaller scale and 500kW and 600kW central inverters for outdoor installations.

Solarmax CEO Mathias Mader said the company will this year be targeting Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the UK, Ireland, Poland and Italy.

First ever 'blackstart' energy storage system to go online in Germany

27 January 2016: A 5MW grid-scale battery park in Germany will be the first to utilise energy storage for quick restarting in the event of a blackout.

Operated by utility WEMAG, the plant was completed in September 2014 and began providing grid-stabilising services, including aiding the integration of renewable energy onto the local network. WEMAG’s serviced grid area had by then already added about 800MW of renewables.

Using 25,600 lithium-manganese-oxide cells from Samsung SDI in a facility designed and built by Younicos, the park has been used to provide frequency regulation services. Younicos claimed at the opening of the park that the 5MW/5MWh system could compete with a 50MW gas turbine in such markets.

Yesterday, Younicos said it had been contracted by WEMAG to show in ‘Kickstarter’, a demonstration project, that it could quickly restore the grid if it was disrupted. To this end, Younicos will perform physical and control software upgrades to the system. The University of Rostock will also provide the project with simulations of larger area disruptions.

Kickstarter is being run by a consortium that includes WEMAG, Younicos, the University of Rostock and a local utility, EVSE. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is also supporting the project with €800,000 (US$876,000) in funding.  

“Smart software is the key to unlocking the potential of battery storage. It enables battery plants to reliably provide essential system services such as balancing power and black start capability and island mode. This opens up new areas of application for WEMAG,” Younicos founder and ‘chief visionary officer’ Clemens Triebel said. Triebel will be keynote speaker at this year’s Energy Storage Europe conference in March.

A 'Triomphe' for Haiti

Champ de Mars, Haiti. Image: flickr user: stefan krasowski / rapidtravelchai.
25 January 2016: A project to illuminate a public square in Haiti using lithium-ion based energy storage systems has been completed, according to storage provider Saft.

Saft supplied one of its Intensium Max 20E 20ft containerised storage solutions to the Champ de Mars, a public square in a recreational park in the Caribbean island country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. In addition to lighting the square, the installation, charged from 110kW of solar PV panels, will also provide local wifi coverage.

Canadian engineering and technology company Geninov selected Saft as its supplier on the project, dubbed ‘Triomphe’. Utilising 100kWp of power converters from US company Princeton Power Systems, the system is modelled on covering an expected daily demand of 200kWp. In addition to charging from solar in the daytime for discharge at night, Triomphe can also provide backup power and shift energy.

Haiti, which was hit by a devastating earthquake and ensuing crises including outbreaks of infectious disease in 2010, is in a state of uncertainty, with presidential elections now looking unlikely to be concluded by the end of the first week of February, which is a constitutionally required deadline.

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