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Transmission & Energy Storage Equipment

Common battery types used in solar+storage

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Incorporating energy storage into a solar array is not as easy as just picking a battery off the shelf. Certain chemistries work better in certain environments, and storage capabilities are influenced by the solar application.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a trends report on the U.S. storage market in May 2018. The report found that lithium-ion batteries represented more than 80% of the installed power and energy capacity of large-scale energy storage applications. Nickel- and sodium-based batteries represented around 10% while lead-acid and other chemistries rounded out large-scale battery representation.

Within small-scale battery installations (where commercial and industrial installs make up 90% of capacity), EIA was unable to pinpoint specific chemistry data, but it can be assumed that lithium-based batteries still reign supreme. Lead-acid batteries have been popular within off-grid installations for decades, but lithium-ion’s longer cycle life, lighter weight and decreased maintenance have made it the preferred choice for large-scale, EV and residential applications.

But lithium-ion is not the only—or best—choice out there for batteries used in solar+storage installations. Here’s a brief rundown of the common storage technologies used in the industry, and which chemistries some popular brand names use.

Lithium-ion

Lithium-based energy storage systems are overwhelmingly the most common storage technology used within the solar market. These batteries are characterized by the transfer of lithium ions between electrodes during charge and discharge reactions. Additional materials, such as cobalt, nickel and manganese, are inserted into the battery cells and can affect the battery’s performance, voltage and safety. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than other chemistries, mostly because of their need for battery management systems to monitor voltage and temperature. The benefits of lithium-ion, though, include long cycle life, high charge and discharge efficiency, lighter weight and no maintenance (lithium-ion batteries are solid and don’t require refills).

Lithium-ion types

Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) — LCO batteries are very stable and small, making them a popular choice for cell phones and laptops. Any battery with cobalt has a higher risk of thermal runaway and fire danger, which is why some phones and hoverboards were catching fire a few years back. Their short life spans and limited load capabilities do not make them a great choice for larger energy storage applications, but LCO batteries are a good introduction point to lithium-based storage.

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) — LMO batteries have fast-charging properties and increased thermal stability since there is no cobalt. These batteries are often used in medical devices and power tools, although they’re entering the C&I market because they’re a safer alternative to cobalt batteries and can be optimized for longevity and high energy capacity.

  • LMO example: Sharp (now NantEnergy) large-scale SmartStorage system

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) — NMC batteries are a popular chemistry within the lithium-ion category. The combination of nickel and manganese provides these batteries with high specific energy and stability. Their use of cobalt, though, increases the risk of thermal runaway.

  • NMC examples: LG Chem batteries, Tesla Powerwall, Panasonic/Pika Energy Harbor Smart Battery

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA)— NCA batteries are a relatively new chemistry and act similarly to NMC-based systems. The addition of aluminum provides the batteries with more stability.

  • NCA example: TrinaBESS range of systems

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) — LFP batteries use iron phosphate to increase safety and thermal abilities while also experiencing a long cycle life. Since they generate little heat, these batteries don’t require ventilation or cooling, so they can be installed in more unique, indoor applications.

  • LFP examples: SimpliPhi Power’s line of batteries, sonnen’s residential storage systems

Nickel-based

Nickel-based batteries, mainly nickel-cadmium (NiCd), are simple units without complex management systems. They are rugged and reliable. NiCd in particular has been used in large-scale energy storage because of its forgiving performance in extreme temperatures. These batteries are suited for demanding applications where reliable backup power is essential and maintenance can’t be regularly performed, but they do require ventilation.

  • NiCd examples: Saft’s Uptimax battery, EnerSys PowerSafe batteries

Sodium-based

Sodium-based batteries use salt—sometimes saltwater—to produce nontoxic, long-duration power. Salt-based cells can be completely drained to zero charge without damaging the system. Lithium-ion batteries, in comparison, always require some charge or they will fail. Sodium batteries are not flammable or explosive (as long as other materials are not added to the chemistry) and can function in a wide temperature range.

  • Na example: Aquion Energy

Lead-acid

Lead-acid chemistry is one of the oldest forms of energy storage and is widely used in vehicles. Lead-acid batteries are known for being dependable and inexpensive. These batteries use a lead-based grid submerged in an acidic electrolyte that may need replenishing for long, successful life. Lead-acid batteries are heavy because of their materials. They have a limited cycle life and are inefficient when it comes to charge and discharge when compared to other chemistries. But they’re cheap to manufacture and are reliable if the owner knows how to charge and discharge properly.

Lead-acid types

Flooded — Flooded lead-acid batteries must be flooded with a liquid. They are not resilient to damage and require significant care and maintenance. Flooded batteries need to be refilled regularly as the electrolytes evaporate during charging. These batteries must be housed in an enclosure with enough ventilation to keep off-gassing levels from reaching a dangerous point.

  • Flooded examples: Trojan Battery’s Solar Premium line, Rolls’ Flooded 2 YS series, U.S. Battery’s RE series

Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) — VRLA batteries can be “sealed” and use valves to regulate off-gassing. They require little to no maintenance when compared to flooded lead-acid batteries and can therefore be handled a little more aggressively or installed in hard-to-reach applications. VRLA can be further separated into two categories: absorbed glass mat (AGM) and gel. AGM batteries hold the electrolyte in its glass mats and use only enough liquid to keep the grid wet. Gel batteries use a thick silica-based gel as its electrolyte base. AGM batteries perform better in colder temperatures, while gel batteries work better in warmer temperatures when there’s less chance for the thick paste to freeze.

  • AGM examples: Crown Battery’s Crown1, U.S. Battery’s Sealed AGM line
  • Gel examples: MK Battery’s Deka Solar Gel Monobloc batteries, Trojan Battery’s Deep Cycle Gel series

Flow

Flow batteries use two chemical components dissolved in liquids separated by a membrane to provide a charge. Both chemical liquids circulate in their own space while the flow of electric current happens through the membrane. Flow batteries work like fuel cells, because the liquid energy sources are the elements creating the electricity. They can be instantly recharged by replacing the electrolyte liquids and store additional electrolytes externally, usually in tanks that are then pumped into the system. Flow batteries excel in long-duration storage applications and require little maintenance. Instead of adding more battery units to a storage system to increase capacity, flow battery systems just need more electrolyte liquid.

Flow types

Redox flow batteries (RFB) — RFB systems use a chemical reduction and oxidation reaction to store energy in the liquid electrolyte solution. During discharge, an electron is released through an oxidation reaction and accepted via a reduction reaction on the other side of the membrane. Specific RFB types include iron flow batteries (IFB) and vanadium redox flow batteries (VRB).

  • RFB example: ESS Energy Warehouse

Hybrid flow batteries — Hybrid flow batteries use RFB qualities but with a solid metal additive. Specifically, zinc bromine (ZNBR) flow batteries have zinc bromide salt dissolved in the electrolyte liquid.

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Transmission & Energy Storage Equipment

LONGi publishes annual report for 2022 and 2023 Q1

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Xi’an, China | Frankfurt, Germany: May 24, 2023 – LONGi Green Energy Technology, a global leading renewable energy company, released its annual report for 2022 and 2023 Q1. According to the financial report, the company achieved a revenue of 128.998 billion yuan in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 60.03%. This is the first time that LONGi’s yearly revenue stands above the 100 bn yuan level.

For the first quarter of 2023, LONGi’s revenue reached 28.319 billion yuan (USD 4.24 bn), up 52.35% from last year. In the report, LONGi announced that its 2023 revenue is expected to surpass 160 bln yuan.

LONGi’s 2022 net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company was 14.812 billion yuan (USD 2.21 bn), a y-o-y increase of 63.02%. Its net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company after deducting non-recurring gains and losses was 14.414 billion yuan (USD 2.15 bn), a y-o-y increase of 63.31%.

The report shows that in 2022 LONGi has produced a total of 85.06GW of monocrystalline silicon wafers, including 42.52GW for external sales and 42.54GW for internal use, steadily ranking 1st in global shipments of monocrystalline silicon wafers for 9 consecutive years. In 2022, LONGi produced 46.76GW of monocrystalline silicon modules, including 46.08GW for external sales and 0.68GW for internal use, steadily ranking 1st in global shipments of modules and market share for 3 consecutive years.

During the reporting period, LONGi’s net cash flow from operating activities was 24.37 billion yuan (USD 3.64 bn), an increase of 97.77% y-o-y. The company’s monetary funds was 54.372 billion yuan (USD 8.12 bn), accounting for 38.96% of total assets, with a y-o-y increase of 86.38%.

From 2020 to 2022, LONGi’s asset-liability ratio was 59.38%, 51.31% and 55.39% respectively. The company adheres to a prudent business philosophy and maintains a reasonable asset liability ratio. And the company’s weighted average net return on assets is 27.23%, 21.45% and 26.95% respectively.

Since its IPO in 2012 to September 2022, LONGi has invested over 18 billion yuan (USD 2.69 bn) in R&D. By the end of 2022, the company has obtained 2,132 patents. LONGi now has a team of 4,036 employees for R&D and technological innovation, accounting for 6.66% of its entire global staff.

During the reporting period, LONGi has set a new world record of p-type HJT silicon solar cell efficiency at 26.81%, certified by the German Institut für Solarenergieforschung (ISFH; Institute for Solar Energy Research) in Hameln. The maximum mass production efficiency of its module product Hi-MO 6 exceeds 23.2%. LONGi has made continuous breakthroughs in the industrialization of new high-efficiency solar cells, the R&D of original module technologies, and the transformation of industrial achievements.

By the end of 2022, LONGi’s production capacity for monocrystalline silicon wafers, cells, and modules have respectively reached 133GW, 50GW, and 85GW.

The report also shows that LONGi has accelerated digital transformation and smart manufacturing development. With the transformation and upgrade of its manufacturing units and production lines, the company has reduced costs and improved efficiency.

The company has also announced its goals for 2023, with the company’s production capacity for monocrystalline silicon wafers expected to expand to 190GW, monocrystalline silicon cells expected to expand to 110GW, and monocrystalline silicon modules expected to expand to 130GW.

For product shipments, LONGi is expected to achieve 130GW of monocrystalline silicon wafers (internal use included) and 85GW of monocrystalline silicon modules (internal use included).

LONGi said the company had achieved sustained and stable growth by ensuring product delivery, and the company had proactively undertaken the pressure of higher costs of raw materials. With the expansion of production capacity and the increased output of silicon materials, silicon materials prices of the industrial chain have returned to normal levels. The company is expected to achieve good performance in 2023.

In Europe, LONGi generated a turnover of 21.34 bn yuan (USD 3.19 bn) in 2022, an increase by 87.68 percent compared to the previous year. Nick Wang, Vice President of LONGi Europe Distributed Generation (DG) said: “Europe is our top priority market globally. The continent is facing unprecedented growth in the solar industry and seeing an increase in demand for high-efficiency and high-quality solar modules as a result. We are preparing for this next stage of solar growth in a sustainable, healthy way, while further enhancing our customers’ focus and services and putting them at the center of our work. As part of this, LONGi will establish a new service and operation center in the EU in 2023 to provide the speed and support our partners need.”

For international markets, LONGi said the company has increased investment and accelerated the construction and upgrade of high-efficiency production lines in China to satisfy the increasingly diversified needs of the clients. The company has also optimized its investment internationally, including increasing investment in its production base in Kuching in Malaysia and completing the upgrade of its production base in Vietnam. The company is working to improve its production and operation capabilities internationally to satisfy the growing market demand outside of China.

About LONGi and LONGi Solar

LONGi Solar is one of the world’s largest solar technology companies, ranking first in global module shipments since 2020. It is a subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology (LONGi), which was founded in 2000. LONGi has more than 60,000 employees, 30+ locations and 30 manufacturing sites globally. LONGi Europe is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The company has established five business sectors, covering mono silicon, wafers, cells and modulescommercial and industrial distributed solar solutionsgreen energy solutions and hydrogen equipment to support the development of zero-carbon energy globally. Since 2021, LONGi has broken the photovoltaic (PV) cell conversion efficiency record 14 times in a row. In 2022, LONGi set a new world record of 26.81% for the efficiency of a p-type HJT silicon solar cell. The results were confirmed by the German Institut für Solarenergieforschung (Institute for Solar Energy Research or ISFH) in Hamelin, Germany. LONGi is the first Chinese solar manufacturer to join the three distinguished climate initiatives RE100, EP100 and EV100. Under the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), LONGi has set a 2030 emission reduction target aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent across its operations and productions compared to 2020 levels.

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Hitachi ABB Power Grids tracks Dublin’s data center surge via grid connections

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One gigawatt substation will support the city’s growing number of data centers to enable the new norm of remote working through efficient connections to electrical infrastructure

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a fully integrated, high-voltage substation close to Dublin’s digital business hub at Castlebagot, fast-tracking the standard two and a half year execution time to just 18 months, to keep the city’s growing number of large, increasingly important data centers running smoothly 24/7.

The project was commissioned by Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) to meet Dublin’s recent, unprecedented upsurge in demand for electricity, due to the proliferation of new data centers. The project is the largest privately contracted substation development in Ireland to date. To ensure reliable supply to this booming industry, Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a 220 kilovolt (kV)/110 kV substation with gas-insulated switchgear, including the protection and control SCADA system enabling an advanced power system management and monitoring of equipment status while in service. The gas insulated switchgear is a compact technology designed to minimize the substation’s foot-print, enabling space saving of up to 70 percent compared to air-insulated switchgear.

Dublin hosts some of the most important high-tech firms in Europe, in addition to a wide range of thriving tech start-up and colocation services. Planners are currently processing applications for additional, major data centers that will more than double the city’s electricity consumption in the years ahead. With its state-of-the art efficient grid solutions, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is helping to optimize power consumption while maintaining quality of supply.

“We specialize in the prompt delivery of reliable, high-voltage grid connections that respond to the ever growing use of advanced solutions continuing to support people through the challenging times of the current global pandemic.Efficient connections to electrical infrastructure are more critical than ever,” says Niklas Persson, Managing Director of Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “We are proud to enable the transition to the new norm of connecting people, when disruption to working patterns has increased the demand for remote and digital services, by meeting the need for a stable power supply.”

The energization of the Castlebagot substation in such a short time is even more remarkable given the current demanding situation. Hitachi ABB Power Grids and ESB were able to overcome this challenge due to their digital capabilities which made it possible to energize the substation safely and sustainably, while ensuring business continuity.
Substations are the building blocks for any power grid and facilitate the effective integration of power from conventional and renewable generation sources, to efficiently transmit and distribute it to consumption centers.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is fast becoming the leading supplier of grid and power quality solutions for data center grid connections for both utilities and data center owners worldwide and is helping cities around the world to meet the extensive power demands of large data center projects. For this project, early collaboration with ESB ensured a design that fulfilled the utility’s availability and reliability requirements. It enabled fast project execution, leveraging our vast knowledge of utility grid codes and connection practices in different countries.

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Transmission & Energy Storage Equipment

GoodWe, the only Inverter Manufacturer to win the TÜV Rheinland “All Quality Matters” Award 5 years in a row!

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We are pleased to inform our friends and partners that GoodWe has been honored this week with the TÜV Rheinland’s 2020 “All Quality Matters” award in recognition for the outstanding quality of its EH Series storage inverter and its MT Series C&I inverter. This is the fifth consecutive year that GoodWe has won this prestigious award, which shows just how consistent the company has been in delivering high-quality products. The award ceremony took place on 30 June in the city of Suzhou and was attended by the company’s founder, Mr. Huang Min.

The evaluation process that preceded the decision for this award was very comprehensive and for this edition, Rheinland started testing one year in advance, only concluding its final report in June 2020. Renowned for its objectiveness and impartiality, the TÜV Rheinland’s “All Quality Matters” award has become an important reference point on a global scale and being a recipient of this influential award is always an honor.

EH Series – Storage Inverter

In 2019 GoodWe was ranked “World’s Number 1 Storage Inverter Supplier” by Wood Mackenzie and there was indeed much speculation about which storage product would receive the glamorous TÜV award this year. It was later confirmed that the EH Series had received the highest score due its versatility, safety and efficiency and overall ease of installation. GoodWe’s EH Series is a high-quality storage inverter with battery-ready function and, as part of this evaluation, it was tested against competitors’ products on the categories of efficiency, output and input capability, power quality and thermal stability. GoodWe is coming first on the below parameters thus becoming this year’s undisputed champion:

1. Efficiency: This inverter can achieve a Max MPPT efficiency of 99.9% and comes with two MPPTs, which makes it a leader among single-phase storage inverters.

2. Max. Input Power: EH Series is the first single-phase storage inverter in the market compatible with bifacial double-glass modules, which allows 12.5A input current per string. It also allows 35% DC oversizing to fully maximize capacity.

3. Max. Output Power: The EH Series proved to be able to improve AC output capability, generating more power thanks to its ability to support 1.1 times rated power output for extended periods.

Apart from its strong performance, EH Series offers customers the possibility to upgrade to a full energy storage solution by simply purchasing an activation code. Moreover, the fact that it takes less than 10 seconds to switch from grid to PV helps users avoid expensive intakes from the grid. It comes with an automatic UPS function and one of its most remarkable features is that even when it is on back-up mode it can still supply power to large loads. Last but not least, the communication cables come pre-wired, reducing installation time significantly. The Plug & Play AC connector also makes operation and maintenance a lot more convenient.

The three key features of the EH Series that stood out were its 30% oversizing ratio on the DC side, its outstanding and unique UPS function and its compatibility with several brands of high-voltage battery brands, including BYD.

MT Series – C&I Inverter

GoodWe has come a long way in the C&I segment, expanding its portfolio to include products up to 136kW and up to 12 MPPTs. In this year’s TÜV Rheinland award the MT Series (50-80kW) topped the list with its high efficiency, 50% DC input oversizing capability and 15% AC output overloading. The MT Series inverter comes with four MPPTs and is also capable of operating at 50 degrees Celsius. In addition, it offers optional PLC communication.

At the ceremony award, Mr. Huang Min mentioned that year after year, despite the challenges, GoodWe has consistently delivered high-quality inverters ranging from residential, storage, C&I and utility. Consistency and versatility have been GoodWe’s most important assets and its main contributions to the ongoing energy transformation. GoodWe would like to express its appreciation to its customers and partners for their continuous support and for sharing all that valuable feedback that helps us improve our products.

GoodWe is a leading, strategically thinking enterprise which focuses on research and manufacturing of PV inverters and energy storage solutions.

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