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ROUNDUP: GCL’s Oz Li-Ion launch, SolarReserve eyes 1GW deal, first bi-directional inverter

Top ranking PV maker GCL launches storage products in Australia

6 May 2016: GCL Systems Integration (GCL), which was identified as one of the world's most prolific producers of silicon PV modules, has officially launched 2.5kWh and 5.6kWh energy storage systems for the Australian residential market.

GCL’s new E-KwBe product series made its debut this week at the Australian Solar Council’s 2016 industry exhibition and conference. The devices use lithium-ion batteries which GCL claims have an energy density of up to 125Wh per kg.  

While the initial models target the household PV-plus-storage market, GCL hinted that more devices are to follow.

Later that month, GCL bought a 51% stake in Australian PV product distributor One Stop Warehouse which has four distribution centres nationwide as well as e-commerce platforms. The move was aimed at expanding GCL’s market share for its products which include inverters and PV panels in Australia and the wider southern hemisphere.

“We aim to create more energy storage products, take a leadership position in influencing market trends and help Australia achieve its renewable energy goals as well as boost energy sustainability worldwide,” GCL chairman Shu Hua said.

The Chinese company was inducted into the 'Silicon Module Super League' rankings for PV manufacturers with the highest production capacities by Solar Media’s Solar Intelligence team in mid-April in seventh place following “aggressive” capacity additions in 2015.

SolarReserve signs 1GW solar thermal and storage deal with world’s biggest coal supplier

3 May: Developer SolarReserve will work with Chinese state-owned company Shenhua Group Corporation to build 1GW of solar thermal projects using the US company’s proprietary solar storage technology. Shenhua is the world’s largest coal supplier and a coal-based power provider. It will use its power integration and construction units to collaborate in the deployment of SolarReserve’s concentrated solar power system with molten salt storage.

Ideal Power launches bi-directional inverter for storage integration

2 May: Power conversion manufacturer Ideal Power has launched a PV string inverter with an optional bi-directional port that enables the integration of storage at the time of installation or as a retrofit. The SunDial is a fully isolated PV string inverter with an integrated PV combiner, disconnects and a built-in Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). The product is aimed at the commercial sector and comes in a 30kW model, using the company's patented Power Packet Switching Architecture.

"The SunDial is a major milestone for the industry, it is the first bi-directional PV string inverter that gives solar installers the flexibility to build their project with storage now or plan for its integration in the future without having to replace the solar inverter or add a separate battery converter," said Dan Brdar, CEO, Ideal Power.

Ideal Power's John Merritt recently contributed a guest blog to Energy-Storage.News titled "What on earth would we do without net metering", discussing the case for solar-plus-storage technologies as a natural successor to existing support policies for residential solar.

‘World’s first’ megawatt-scale renewable grid gets VIP treatment

Source: Younicos.
29 April: The prime minister of Portugal and the president of the Azores have visited the site of what is claimed to be the first megawatt-scale renewable grid. The site on the island of Graciosa includes a 1MW PV plant, 3.2MWh of lithium-ion batteries with a 4.5MW wind park currently under construction.

“Our intelligent software controls are the key to capitalising on renewables, maintaining grid resilience, reducing emissions and saving money,” said Stephen Prince, CEO, Younicos, the system’s architect. The grid will relegate diesel generators to a backup only role.

Recharge A/S, a Danish renewable investment fund, has taken a stake in the €24 million (US$26.7 million) micro grid project which storage system integrator Younicos claims could help prove the validity of such projects as an asset class.

Aussie pumped hydro project selects final design

The new design use a larger, shallow reservoir. Source: Genex Power.
28 April: A pumped hydro project in Queensland has selected its final design with capacity boosted to 450MW of peak power over a period of 5-6 hours. Genex Power said the new proposed design, which uses a shallow plastic-lined reservoir  held within low levee walls means less variance in water levels, allows an existing pit to be used to store additional water and removes the problem of water seepage. The feasibility study has also concluded that the existing 275kV transmission line is robust enough to handle loads from the site.

The feasibility study for the project has been backed by AUS$4 million of funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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