The energy storage division of global solar PV manufacturer Trina Solar has debuted its Elementa 2 battery energy storage system (BESS) solution at All-Energy Australia.
Trina Storage unveiled the product, which has 2MW output and packs a total 4MWh of energy storage capacity into a 20-ft container – almost double the 2.2MWh capacity of the first-generation Elementa – at the renewable energy industry trade show taking place this week in Melbourne, Victoria.
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That new capacity brings it in line with the upper end of what other leading providers are starting to offer and has been made possible by development of the company’s own larger format 306Ah lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells, the company’s regional leadership team told Energy-Storage.news.
The in-house developed cells have an expected lifetime of 12,000 cycles, which again is far beyond expectations of just a few years ago and gradually becoming more common at the top end of the market.
Further to that, other improvements have been made at system level, Edison Zhou, Trina Solar’s sales head for Australia and New Zealand told Energy-Storage.news. These include a “highly integrated design” that reduces the footprint by 26% versus the previous iteration, rack level battery management which increases the batteries’ expected lifetime and a reduction in the cost of its liquid cooling system due to an “intelligent” management system, Zhou said.
Battery storage safety is of course a major topic of conversation for the industry and public alike today, and in Australia, customers have said that safety is even more important than performance itself, according to Edison Zhou and colleague Andre Gilhooly, head of Trina Solar’s Asia-Pacific utility, commercial and industrial (C&I) solutions business.
“We apply cell level monitoring within the battery management system (BMS) to very carefully monitor cell performance and control and mitigate any possibility of thermal runaway events, such as we’ve seen in the local industry recently,” Gilhooly said in an interview with Energy-Storage.news today.
“It’s most definitely safety first – and then performance,” Gilhooly said, with Trina Storage’s products fully certified to IEC and UL standards, making it able to meet North American, European and Australian codes and standards.
Horizontal integration strategy: PV modules, trackers, BESS
Trina Storage was officially launched at the Energy Storage Summit EU by the China-headquartered solar company in 2021, although the parent company has been involved in energy storage project design and integration since about 2015. Trina Solar is a member of the Solar Module Super League (SMSL), as coined by our colleagues at PV Tech, ranking it among the top manufacturers in the world.
Key to its market strategy in solar PV has been vertical integration to capture the full value chain from raw materials to finished products and even services like project development.
There is also a sense of that vertical integration being important for its BESS business, with the company having established a dedicated line with more than 12GWh annual production capacity for battery cells, but perhaps even more important is the sense of horizontal integration.
Having a BESS business alongside its solar manufacturing and PV tracker division Trina Tracker, will allow the company to sell as much of the complete system solution to customers as possible.
The reason for debuting Elementa 2 at the Melbourne show, and to the Australian market first was a question of timing, rather than there being specific projects or deals to announce, although Gilhooly hinted that some customer conversations were at advanced stages and likely to bear fruit in the near future.
Trina Storage has to date supplied and/or integrated BESS at 100MWh of projects in the UK, as well as more than 2GWh in China, and it is understood talks with customers in the US are also progressing.
However, on the Australian market, Zhou and Gilhooly said it is a market of “staggering” potential – which makes sense in light of modelling from national agencies like the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Rystad Energy which have shown the enormous need the country has for energy storage to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Rystad Energy said the National Electricity Market (NEM), which covers most of the country, had the most intraday price volatility of 39 different electricity markets around the world the research and analysis firm looked at. It would take around 46GW/640GWh to mitigate that volatility by 2050, the year Australia is targeting hitting net zero emissions, the firm said, while Trina’s representatives also pointed out the urgent need for storage in Western Australia’s South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
This article has been amended from its original form to reflect that Trina Storage’s annual cell production capacity is at 12GWh.