A123 Energy Solutions to install 2.8MWh of grid storage at Japanese factory

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Lithium-ion battery maker and developer A123 Energy Solutions has been awarded a contract to install a 1MW, 2.8MWh grid storage solution (GSS) to help integrate a PV array at a Japanese factory.

A123 announced that it is currently in the process of installing the system for IHI Corporation, a Japanese industrial equipment manufacturer at IHI’s facility in the north eastern Tohoku region of Japan. As well as supplying and installing the battery A123 is also responsible for its commissioning.

In addition to assisting the integration of the large PV array co-located at the factory, the A123 GSS is also being installed to help reduce the factory’s overall load. According to A123, this load shifting will ease the strain on the local grid network.

The inability of Japan’s electrical grid system, divided into 10 separate regions, each controlled by a separate utility, has been a stumbling block in attempts to greatly increase generation capacity from renewable energy sources including solar and wind in recent times. 

Bud Collins, president of A123 said: “This new contract win proves that A123 Energy Solutions has recovered, is open for business, and is poised for growth. While last year was a challenging one, we were still able to successfully install and commission several sites around the world. This new project in Japan helps us begin the year with a new win, and we expect to continue this trend and grow the business.”

A123’s Long Duration Grid Battery System (GBS-LD) will be used in the GSS, featuring A123 Systems trademarked Nanophosphate prismatic cell technology. Using containerised systems of varying size, the GBS-LD can be used to deploy up to 100MW and 100MWh of energy storage.

Massachusetts based A123 Energy Solution is a division of A123 Systems, which was bought by Chinese automotive parts maker Wanxiang Group last year after a difficult period that saw share prices plummet.

In a recent interview with PV Tech’s sister publication Solar Business Focus, Haresh Kamath, strategic programme manager at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-profit organisation funded by utilities to research the electric power market in the US, explained that grid integration of PV using storage is an issue that has become increasingly talked about of late. He believes grid storage could be a useful, flexible asset to grids.

“People should no longer talk about the mitigation of the effects of renewables, instead we’re talking about making the grid more flexible to accommodate more renewables. We’re trying to add assets to the grid wherever possible to accommodate the fact that solar may generate more electricity than you need at any one time and that solar may not be there when there’s a load at some other time.”

Also speaking to Solar Business Focus, Steve Minnihan, analyst at Lux Research said it was likely 2014 would see an upturn in grid storage projects being installed after 2012 and 2013.

“We absolutely believe 2014 is going to be something of a rebuilding year. I am forecasting that we are going to see much better momentum of projects than we've seen in 2012 and 2013, which were pretty abysmal years – there was an almost complete grinding to a halt of new projects.”

The interview with Haresh Kamath at EPRI and other experts will be included as part of a feature on energy storage and PV in the forthcoming volume of Solar Business Focus, due to be published in early February.

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