Moixa, the U.K.-based energy storage developer, is prepping for international expansion supported by a planned future funding round and leveraging the scale of its ongoing growth in Japan.
The firm is now managing more than 10,000 residential batteries in Japan, networked and managed as a fleet, less than a year after entering that country's market. It has a head start on many of its competitors, having started work on virtual power plant trials back in 2013.
Moixa is now looking to leverage the flood of data and experience gained from its rapid progress in Japan. The company is adding 10 megawatt-hours of capacity to its GridShare platform every month through its partnership with the Japanese conglomerate Itochu, with a network that now totals 100 megawatt-hours.
The London-based developer set a target of 200 megawatt-hours under management by the end of 2020, and the company told GTM it's on track to exceed that goal thanks to rapid growth in Japan.
Moixa founder and CEO Simon Daniel said a combination of the company’s flexible system and the fundamentals of the Japanese market have allowed for its rapid scale-up.
“Japan has low interest rates, so the cost of borrowing money is lower. The energy prices are quite high. The concern about energy loss and backup during storms is significant. The transition from nuclear is significant, so there are a number of factors in Japan that mean the economics of behind-the-meter storage are [more attractive],” Daniel explained.
Moixa makes battery hardware as well as software, and its systems are bidirectional. The lessons learned from its pool of installations are providing useful data ahead of future battery rollouts and for the growth of EVs, or as Moixa refers to them, “batteries on wheels.”
Much like sonnen's systems, the capabilities and functionality enabled by Moixa's GridShare software are a differentiator. It was the first to create a virtual power plant in the U.K. from residential batteries after being awarded government backing for a 250-unit trial in 2013. It's been scaling up such rollouts and collecting data ever since.
A project launched this year on England's south coast using third-party assets, including EV batteries, could be scaled up to 17 megawatts.
Capital raise coming
Some behind-the-meter batteries are designed to focus on specific tasks, such as load-shifting or enabling self-consumption of on-site renewables. The Moixa system was designed to be flexible, with the software determining how the battery best-serves the customer.
With that in mind, the company is preparing for deeper international expansion.
“We're looking at models for Europe, Australia and the U.S. and considering how best to take our technology global. In the next stage, we will raise additional capital...to enable further and faster support of our international markets,” Daniel said.
As it stands, Moixa has a small partnership in Ireland and a Europe-wide arrangement with Honda as its “smart charging partner.” Last month the Japanese car giant has brought forward its plans to switch to manufacturing electric-only cars from 2025 to 2022.
Honda led the most recent £8.6 million ($11 million) investment round into Moixa in May. Itochu invested £5 million in January 2018, a year after Japanese utility Tepco had put in £500,000. The U.K. government has also supported the company's technology development with grant funding.
Moixa’s home market in the U.K. remains of interest, as Daniel believes the lessons from Japan are highly relevant there.
“Because the U.K. and Japan are both islands, virtually all...[the] electricity comes locally. The U.K. has a 40-gigawatt grid, of which 1 to 2 gigawatts comes via the interconnectors [with Europe]. So, 95 percent of U.K. electricity comes from the U.K. Because the U.K. gets more than half its power from low-carbon sources — nuclear, wind and solar — we're very dependent as a nation-state on technology to manage balancing and flexibility.”
Renewable sources overtook fossil fuels for the first time in the third quarter in the U.K., highlighting the growing influence of variable sources in that low-carbon mix.
He compares that to Germany, which has access to France’s nuclear power when its renewables fleet underperform and which Daniel said will spend €3 billion to send excess power to Austria when solar and wind flood the grid.
“Japan recognizes that island nations like us are similar and so is the energy system. Japan tracks and invests in U.K. companies because ultimately, the energy systems at the macro level are the same,” said Daniel.