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300% growth demand noted by solar company

INNOVATION FOCUS The company is constantly exploring new battery chemistries and materials to improve the performance and durability of its energy storage products

SUSTAINABLE INTEGRATION Solar MD can work with local utility companies to provide energy storage solutions that help stabilise the grid and support the integration of renewable-energy sources

24th March 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer

     

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Renewable-energy solution provider Solar MD has noted a 300% growth in demand for energy storage solutions in South Africa, owing to increasing demand for energy storage products in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

“While the residential sector has shown steady linear growth, the industrial sector has been experiencing exponential growth, owing to the need to address energy supply challenges and improve energy efficiency,” says Solar MD CEO Kaloyan Dimov.

This presents an opportunity for Solar MD to meet the growing demand for reliable and efficient energy storage systems for the industrial sector.

He adds that Solar MD is “at the forefront” of the latest trends and technological advances in energy storage solutions for the local market, as the company has been investing in automating its production process to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The company is also constantly exploring new battery chemistries and materials to improve the performance and durability of its energy storage products.

Dimov highlights that a trend Solar MD is closely following is the integration of energy storage with renewable-energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind; this integration will create hybrid energy systems that provide reliable and sustainable power.

Innovations

Dimov stresses that a range of factors is considered when developing energy storage solutions, specifically for the South African market.

“Extreme climate conditions, firstly, need to be considered, such as high temperatures and frequent lightning strikes, which can affect the lifespan and performance of batteries. Secondly, the high frequency of power outages, owing to loadshedding, means that energy storage systems need to be highly reliable and able to handle frequent charge and discharge cycles.”

The third consideration he points out is that energy storage solutions need to be affordable and accessible to a range of consumers.

This is especially the case in the residential sector, where many households “may struggle to afford upfront costs”.

Energy storage solutions also need to comply with local regulations and standards, including safety regulations and grid connection requirements.

Meanwhile, one of Solar MD’s latest technological advances is the development of the SS4143 advanced lithium-ion battery, which is “the most advanced and cost-effective energy storage product available in the local market”.

More than 25 000 units have been supplied since September 2021, confirms Dimov.

The company also offers an advanced high-voltage product – the SS7023 234 kWh/ 870 V dc lithium-ion battery that is well suited to commercial and industrial solutions.

“These products are the result of the latest trends in energy storage, including automation in production and the use of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.”

Renewable-Energy Storage

South Africa has been progressing towards an energy transition by increasing the use of renewable-energy sources.

Dimov adds that this has mostly been facilitated by the implementation of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which

has resulted in renewable-energy capacity being added to the national energy grid.

However, challenges in progressing the energy transition have been encountered, owing to the country's reliance on coal power, which remains a significant component of the energy mix.

Dimov says “there is still much to do to accelerate the energy transition and reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels”, adding that energy storage can also allow for greater integration of renewable-energy sources into the energy mix.

Energy storage can help to balance out the intermittency of these renewable- energy sources and ensure a reliable supply of power to the energy grid.

It can also provide ancillary services to the grid, such as frequency regulation and voltage control, which are essential for maintaining grid stability and reliability, he emphasises.

He states that Solar MD is trying to focus on supplying energy storage solutions to local and residential customers who are looking for reliable backup power solutions.

“We will target the growing market for solar PV installations by offering integrated storage solutions to customers who are looking to maximise their energy independence and reduce reliance on the grid.

“Solar MD can also work with large, local utility companies to provide energy storage solutions that can help stabilise the grid and support the integration of renewable-energy sources into the national energy mix.”

Dimov asserts that the company will continue to develop innovative and cost-effective energy storage solutions that suit the requirements of the local market by, for example, offering financing options to make energy storage more accessible, and investing in local manufacturing to create jobs and reduce costs.

“Solar MD can also leverage its expertise and reputation as an industry leader to educate policymakers and consumers on the benefits of energy storage, and advocate for policies that support its adoption,” he concludes.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features

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