By Jason Deign
A UK energy storage system developer is looking to go from 650 installations today to 1m by 2020 with an aggregation-based residential business model.
London-based Moixa Energy Holdings is positioning itself as a utility’s friend by aggregating residential storage assets into a virtual power plant that provides ancillary grid services, then sharing the rewards with its customer base.
On its website, the company claims its GridShare service can earn homeowners between GBP£50 and £75 a year, or “almost 15% of the average electricity bill.”
Chief executive Simon Daniel told Energy Storage Report that 2016 was a scaling-up year for Moixa, which began piloting smart battery technology in 2012 and launched its current products two years ago.
The company is expecting to shift up to 100,000 storage systems within the next 36 months, Daniel said. And although Moixa is looking to bolster sales abroad, most of that capacity could go online in the UK.
The largest residential storage fleet
“We think the UK will have the largest residential storage fleet by 2020,” said Daniel, noting that growth in the British market is not dependent on self-generation incentive programmes as it is in markets such as California.
Furthermore, he stated: “The UK has 891,000 solar homes, nearly the same as the US total.”
Moixa aims to make money through battery system sales and its GridShare concept. “Customers save on self-consumption and night or smart tariffs,” explained Daniel.
“We are an AC-coupled solution that is a solar battery in summer and grid-services battery in winter.”
Current pricing for the battery systems is £2,000 for 2kWh of storage or £2,500 for 3kWh. The price includes the battery, inverter and control software but not installation, which could add an extra £100 to £150 onto the cost.
Bringing costs down below £2,000
Daniel said the company was expecting to soon bring costs down below £2,000, including wall-mounted installation, and ultimately hoped to give the storage units away by prefunding the purchase through grid services revenues.
Last month Moixa launched an all-in-one solar-plus-storage package for less than £5,000.
“The package, targeted at homeowners, housing associations and other landlords, bundles a 2kWh Moixa Smart Battery with a 2kW, eight-panel solar photovoltaic system for an installed price of £4,995 including VAT,” Moixa said.
Larger systems could be purchased at a rate of £500 for each additional kilowatt-hour of capacity, Daniel said. He called it “likely the cheapest global solar-plus-storage installed deal in homes.”
Given that Moixa’s business model is so dependent on selling services to the grid, it is unsurprising that the company is keen to be seen as an ally for electricity companies.
Helping avoid peak-period consumption
Daniel said he expected Moixa’s battery systems to power customer premises for no more than around a third of the day, helping to avoid consumption during peak periods rather than allowing consumers to go fully off-grid.
“We don’t think technologies on their own today should compete and take people off-grid,” he said. “This makes the rest of the system more expensive for those without. We work with rather than against utilities.”
Daniel claimed competitors such as Tesla and Sonnen “seem to want to disrupt and disintermediate.”
This is certainly the case with Sonnen, which has made no bones about potentially cutting utilities out of the energy equation altogether.
Tesla, however, seems to have adopted a more cautious approach to knocking utilities, particularly after winning major utility contracts such as the 20MW, 80MWh Aliso Canyon project from Southern California Edison.
“Not one or the other”
“The solution is both local power generation and utility power generation,” said Tesla boss Elon Musk in a press conference announcing the fully integrated Powerpack 2 system last week. “It’s not one or the other.”
Despite the Powerpack 2’s eye-poppingly low cost per kilowatt-hour, Daniel said he believed Moixa could outgun Tesla not just on price but also on form factor.
“Tesla finally realises that the only way forward is an all-in-one, plug-and-play system,” he said.
“Though at 115 kg [actually 122 kg] and six times the physical volume of ours, it’s $1,000 to install and not really good outside niche, high-end prosumer adopters.”
Tesla remains hard to beat
For all Daniel’s fighting talk, however, there is still one area where Tesla remains hard to beat: financing.
While investors still seem willing to pump money into Musk’s star venture, Moixa is currently in search of additional funding to help it scale up for business across Europe and further afield.
The company, which has already raised more than £7m from grants and high-net-worth individuals, is seeking up to £20m by “early in the New Year,” Daniel said.