Smart energy optimisation and management tech company SolarEdge has begun producing test cells for certification at its newly opened lithium-ion cell gigafactory in South Korea. SolarEdge said the plant is a response to growing demand for battery energy storage and will have a 2GWh annual production capacity when it fully ramps during the second half of this year. The factory is named Sella 2, after SolarEdge’s late founder and former CEO Guy Sella. The company acquired South Korean battery manufacturer and energy storage system (ESS) integrator Kokam in 2019. The Sella 2 plant has been built together with Kokam in Eumseong Innovation City, Chungcheongbuk-do Province.
A SolarEdge representative told Energy-Storage.news the factory will produce nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) pouch cells. They will be primarily aimed at the “fast growing” residential ESS sector, with SolarEdge manufacturing its own SolarEdge Energy Bank Home Battery storage systems, the representative said, However they will also be made for other applications including mobile energy storage and stationary energy storage systems that require “high power and high-reliability cells”. For example, Kokam was awarded a contract last year to deliver a 15MW/10.4MWh battery storage solution for a utility in Tahiti that will provide synchronous inertia to the local grid while increasing adoption of renewable energy.
“The new plant will utilise the battery cell technology developed by Kokam over the years to manufacture Li-Ion cells for the broader company products, and in order to grow the existing business served by the storage division,” the spokesperson said. “The accumulated knowledge of Kokam in developing battery cells combined with the scale of the new factory will allow SolarEdge to adjust the cell chemistry and characteristics in order to optimise product cost and performance.” Cells will be shipped to global markets, while the SolarEdge Home Battery system will then be assembled in Europe, while systems for other applications that are not PV-related will be assembled in Korea.
SolarEdge’s CEO Zvi Lando said that the opening of Sella 2 was an important milestone for the company which “allows us to own key processes in the development and manufacturing of advanced energy storage solutions for our solar core business and additional applications, while further securing the resilience of our supply chain”. “We are committed to growing our business in the energy storage market, as well as our investment in battery cell technology and cell manufacturing, further strengthening our storage product portfolio,” Lando said. SolarEdge became known for its power optimisers, particularly in the US residential market where it carved out a healthy market share, but has broadened its base to include EV charging solutions, various smart PV inverters, energy management systems (EMS) and other products.