SUSI Partners’ solar PV platform ReFeel New Energy expands to BESS market

SUSI Partners said the expansion was based on the growth of the broader ReFeel New Energy team and the progress of its solar PV business. Image: SUSI Partners

Swiss investment fund manager SUSI Partners has expanded the remit of its Italian solar PV platform ReFeel New Energy to develop utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS).

SUSI Partners said the expansion was based on the growth of the broader ReFeel New Energy team and the progress of its solar PV business. Currently, over 375MW of solar capacity is under development, of which two projects are ready to be built.

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Established in early 2022 as a solar PV development platform within the SUSI Energy Transition Fund, ReFeel New Energy currently boasts over 750MW of battery storage capacity.

The company is eager to expand into the Italian BESS market, an area that has already reported to have considerable potential. Research firm LCP Delta recently noted that, after annual grid-scale deployments of just 20MW in the last few years, Italy is forecast to deploy 800-900MW in 2023/2024, second in scale only to the UK.

Italian transmission system operator (TSO) Terna released its ‘Study on Reference Technologies for Electricity Storage’ report in August, which noted that a total of 71GWh of new grid-scale energy storage needs to be deployed in Italy by 2030 for it to decarbonise its energy system in line with the EU targets.

Terna added that the average power rating of the 71GWh will need to be one-eighth of the energy storage capacity, meaning a total power rating of the new energy storage capacity of 8.875GW. The 8.875GW/71GWh is in addition to distributed energy storage resources and large-scale projects already procured through past capacity market and ancillary service auctions.

Italian storage potential

In June 2023, regulators in Italy approved new auction rules for grid-scale storage and gave the green light to a 200MW/800MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project from UK developer Aura Power, while Eni Plenitude brought a 15MW BESS online.

The energy storage market in Italy doubled in capacity in the first half of the year. As of 30 June 2023, a total of 3,045MW and 4,893MWh of energy storage is installed in Italy according to ANIE Rinnovabili, the national trade body representing the renewable and clean energy sectors.

Around half of this capacity – 1,468MW/2,058MWh – was deployed in the first half of 2023 alone, meaning the market, led by the residential and commercial sector, doubled in size from the end of 2022 to the end of the first half of 2023. However, the market will likely slow down in H2 2023, as ANIE Rinnovabili expects a downturn in the residential and commercial segments to continue into the second half of the year.

In addition to the growth of the energy storage market, the European Union’s RePowerEU plan also outlined the Italian renewables targets, envisioning more than doubling the countries’ renewables capacity to 131GW by 2030, almost 20GW storage capacity will have to be brought online over the next six years.’ sister publication PV Tech also reported that Italy is adding at least 4GW of solar in 2023.

Paolo Viscontini, president of trade association Italia Solare, said the country already installed almost as much capacity as the whole of 2022 (2.3GW) in H1, and is expected to finish the year with at least 4GW.

The main driver for the increase of solar additions in Italy could be explained through the 110% Superbonus scheme that supported the installation of solar panels in the residential market as well as the implementation of battery storage.

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