The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Texas-based developer Stella orders 480MWh battery storage from China’s CLOU


China-headquartered energy storage system integrator and manufacturer CL Energy Storage Corporation (CLOU) has won an order in the US for “approximately” 480MWh of battery storage equipment.  

CLOU announced 1 January 2024 that it has received the battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment order from Stella Energy Solutions, a developer and independent power producer. In addition to the BESS order, Stella has ordered 200MW of power conversion system (PCS) skid equipment.

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The company did not disclose where the BESS projects will be located, although Stella Energy Solutions is based in Texas, which is, of course, home to ERCOT, one of the US’ two largest and fastest-growing energy storage markets alongside CAISO in California.

According to Stella’s website, the company develops, builds and operates power plants on behalf of utility customers, which then contract for power under long-term contracts, as well as building assets for transfer to utility ownership on completion.

It also has an operations and maintenance (O&M) arm. While parts of the the site refer to Stella’s scope of projects comprising solar PV and energy storage, others refer to the company developing “traditional” power assets.

The site’s ‘About’ section also includes a passage on the company’s “Honor Code,” claiming that: “Stella abides by a higher standard of conduct that can neither be delineated by laws nor defined by regulations,” which it claims to be “the concept of Honor”.

The team which launched Stella Energy Solutions has developed more than 2GW and 4.4GWh of clean energy projects in operation and construction or under contract.

Targeting the US and Europe

CLOU, meanwhile, launched its flagship containerised BESS product, Aqua1, just before the end of 2023 at the company’s factory in Yichang, Hubei Province, China.

The company said at the time that it was targeting the US and European markets with the liquid-cooled BESS. In addition to the liquid-cooling balancing management technology, which CLOU claimed enhances consistency in cell behaviour, Aqua1 uses a thermal management system developed in partnership with Midea Industrial Technology Research Institute that is operated by Chinese electrical appliances maker Midea.

The thermal management system restricts cell temperature fluctuations to within 3 degrees Celsius. CLOU claimed this means it prevents thermal runaway, optimises battery performance and extends lifespan.

While much of the industry and media’s attention focuses on Chinese battery cell manufacturers and their dominant role in energy storage globally, system integration is also becoming a bigger business for companies from China.

As noted in coverage of last year’s reports into the BESS system integrator landscape from analysts S&P Global and Wood Mackenzie, Chinese providers are taking an increasing share of the market.

In several cases those integrators – with BYD as a leading example – are actually integrator arms established by cell manufacturers. CLOU claims however that as a pureplay integrator it is a rare example in China of a company with integration experience across a full technology stack that includes battery management system (BMS), PCS, energy management system (EMS) and battery packs.

CLOU general manager Zhou Han called the Stella deal an important step for the company into the American market, with the integrator not appearing to have announced any previous US deals. The only time the Shenzen-headquartered company has featured on this site with a deal or order previously was for a 485MWh agreement with an undisclosed customer in Latin America in March 2022.

Although the company is known to be building a new factory in China’s Pearl River Delta region with 14GWh annual production capacity for BESS and 5GW for PCS, unlike other Chinese players, it has not yet begun building or announced US-based production sites.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 6th Energy Storage Summit USA, 19-20 March 2024 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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