Last week Younicos announced it is working with Centrica in the UK to build one of the world’s largest battery storage plants. The 49MW plant will supply homes around the Barrow area of Cumberland from a custom-built plant.
“We started in Germany ten years ago by people that came from the PV (photovoltaic) solar world [Solon],” said Jayesh Goyal, chief commercial officer at Younicos (left). “As you integrated more renewables into the grid they saw you would need more battery storage in the grid, so they developed software to enable a series of different grid services using different battery systems.”
In 2014 the company acquired startup Xtreme Power in the US, opening up the North American market. Xtreme was building 12 systems around the world with over 60MW of power at the time, using its own lead acid battery technology. The combined company now has 150MW of battery plant installed, demonstrating how far the industry has moved in just two years, with lead acid replaced by lithium ion and the size of projects increasing ten fold.
Younicos sees integration and software as the key driver, deliberately working with battery makers, local power operators and construction firms rather than doing everything itself.
“Right now we are one of the largest energy storage integrators, selecting which batteries, which inverters are needed - that’s the core of what we do,” said Goyal. “We try to focus on a range of services – voltage control, frequency regulation, black start, peak shaving, so our software manages that.”
“We do not see ourselves as being in the battery manufacturing or developing our own inverter – companies that have expertise in these areas we want to use the best technologies for different applications,” he said. “What we like to do is if we take an inverter we want to integrate it more tightly with our software. For example if an off the