Several weeks ago, Kyocera Corporation announced its plans to sell two different energy storage units to residential customers in Germany. The 4.8-kilowatt-hour and 7.2-kilowatt-hour units will be available in May, sold through its German distributor Energetik Solartechnologie-Vertriebs.
Kyocera’s lithium-ion batteries are the core of the new systems, which feature inverters from Energetik and Datensysteme’s energy monitoring software and hardware.
Kyocera claims that the units will achieve a charging efficiency of 97 percent. This, it says, is due to the multi-inverter, which incorporates functions of both a solar power inverter and battery inverter.
“Because the energy created by solar power can be directly charged to the storage batteries, there is less electricity loss from conversion, thus improving the charging efficiency while reducing equipment costs,” the company said.
The addition of Datensysteme’s solar log allows users to monitor exactly how much electricity they generate and consume, as well as the amount of energy charged and discharged in order to help optimize efficiency.
Kyocera already has plenty of experience in solar and energy storage. Ichiro Ikeda, general manager of the Solar Energy Marketing Division at Kyocera, said the company was “a pioneer in the solar industry with over four decades of experience, and the No. 1 supplier of residential lithium-ion battery storage systems in Japan.”
In fact, the company -- ranked No. 501 on the Forbes 2000 list of the largest publicly traded companies -- has a large number of interests, ranging from a newly acquired 3-D printing business to microelectronics. The company has around 5 gigawatts of solar power installed worldwide.
Now Kyocera is hoping to apply that experience to the European storage market.
Like other companies offering energy storage to domestic customers in Germany, Kyocera highlights numerous reasons why it is scaling storage in the country.
High and ever-rising electricity costs mean any alternative to the grid is attractive. Meanwhile, an end to the generous feed-in tariff for residential solar makes self-consumption a much better proposition.
“There is a growing demand for storage systems to facilitate the self-consumption of electricity created by solar power generating systems," said Ikeda.
Although some believe 13,000 storage units could soon be sold yearly in Germany, Ikeda believes that the German market is still in an "introductory period."
The company also has ambitions beyond Germany. “By utilizing our experience and expertise cultivated in the market for residential storage systems in Japan and our ability to offer solar power generating systems, storage batteries, and inverters in an all-in-one [configuration], we will proactively engage in sales activities to develop the business in Germany and in Europe,” Ikeda said.
In America, meanwhile, Kyocera has been involved in solar storage since last year, through a deal with Stem.
It currently provides integrated solar and storage units for commercial power users, with Stem supplying the energy management component. But Ikeda hinted that the company was looking to move into the residential energy storage market in the U.S. as well.
“We are currently focusing on the commercial market and are observing the market for residential applications,” said Ikeda.