Trina Solar launches residential battery, ahead of grid and commercial storage

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World’s biggest solar maker hits energy storage market with 3.6-9.6kW ‘premium value’ residential battery product.

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Chinese solar giant Trina Solar has quietly unveiled its first energy storage offering, with the launch of a small range of lithium-ion batteries targeted at the residential market.

The batteries, pictured below, come in three different sizes – 3.6kW, 5kW and 9.6kW – and are set to be released on the Australian market – among other select countries – in June, at an expected cost of around $US1200 per kWh.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 12.42.47 pm

Doug Smith, country manager for Trina’s Pacific region, said the company’s “soft launch” of the battery at the sidelines of the Australian Solar and Energy Storage conference in Melbourne this week, was not in response to the sensational arrival of Tesla’s Powerwall, but added that this had given the market a huge boost.

“Tesla’s certainly doing the world a favour here, for sure,” Smith told RenewEconomy in an interview. “They’ve done a great job in such a short amount of time.”

According to Smith, Trina – which recently claimed the title as world number one producer of crystalline PV modules – made the strategic decision to get into energy storage more than 18 months ago, forming a new division called Trina BEST (Battery Energy Storage by Trina).

It has been working on the batteries for 12 months now, says Smith, at a purpose-built in Jiangsu, near Shanghai.Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 1.27.03 pm

Smith said the company’s original energy storage focus – and testing ground – was on remote village applications in rural China, Asia and Africa.

And while the company’s first offering is a residential one – called “Trina House” – the plan is to release grid and micro-grid models (Trina Grid) in the coming year, as well as a commercial model (yet to be named) in the not-too-distant future.

In a presentation , Trina also mooted plans for EV batteries, but Smith says this is more of an “interesting end point” to the company’s battery story, rather than a concrete plan.

Smith told RE the initial price for the Trina Home batteries could be described as “premium value”, suited to a nascent market of early adopters, rather than wide-scale deployment.

“They’re not the most expensive, and they’re not the cheapest,” he said, adding: “I mean, Trina’s never the cheapest. That’s why we’re around.”

The li-ion battery components come, at this stage, from established battery maker ETL. According to Smith, the new-build ETL battery has the inverter built into it, so would be a kind of “plug-and-play” model. But he adds that Trina is still in final decision mode over the supplier for batteries and inverters.

“This is a start,” said smith. “It’s an aggressive play, but we’re not the only ones.”

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10 Comments
  1. Paul Lemming 4 years ago

    I recently attended SNEC in China (Solar EXPO) and the Trina guys emphatically told me that this product would not be released in Australia as they couldn’t meet the Strict Australian Standards with this particular product or design.
    Is this just similar to the BYD or Bosch products , that also don’t meet standards , but are being “Soft Launched or Released ” to gauge interest in the Aussie Market ?

    • Mike Dill 4 years ago

      Their country manger says June. As with most PR statements, I will believe it when it is actually installed. While I like that Tesla has named a price, I will be much more impressed when there is a press release to show off the local installation.

      Sorry if I sound a little cynical here, but I have been hearing the same hype for a year or two from others, including Enphase and BYD, and for all of them I would like a PR release showing an actual installation and the end price to the consumer.

    • Frederik Troester 4 years ago

      Hello Paul,
      your statement regarding that the Bosch BPT-S 5 Hybrid Li-Ion Battery system is not meeting Australian Standards is not corrrect. The system meets all relevant Australian standards, is listed on the Clean Energy Council’s approved product list and is available for sale in Australia since last year. If you need more information please let us know: [email protected]@au.bosch.com

      • Paul Lemming 4 years ago

        Are you absolutely sure ? , I think the whole battery storage market in Australia has alot of learning to do.
        When you install batteries in a building , you have to pass a quite a few Standards , plus the BCA comes into play and Fire ratings become something that Building certifiers will start to question.

        AS 4777 , As3000, AS4509, AS2676, As4086, AS3011, AS3947 , AS3439.

        I think it has as4777 and the CEC approval is a paid approval.

        I think the Australian market is somewhat coming to terms with Battery storage and so are overseas suppliers , so while no -one is enforcing the Standards, yes you can sell products , but as soon as there is a fire or Explosion , watch people or companies start to scramble to prove they were actually Certified.

        While the Bosch is a very nice looking cabinet , I don’t see a warning label anywhere ? how can this meet standards for a very basic evaluation in the very first instance.

        • Frederik Troester 4 years ago

          Hello Paul,

          thanks for your
          feedback. We are well aware of these standards. But the problem is that these standards are not updated to the latest Li-Ion Battery technology. The industry including its key body the CEC has identified this and established working groups (which Bosch is part of) to come up with relevant updates to these standards or new standards.
          We are also in close contact with the Australian Utilities when it comes to connection of the BPT-S 5 Hybrid units to make sure to fulfil any additional utility specific requirements.
          Furthermore Bosch is holding specific installer training events which is compulsory for any installer who wants to install the BPT-S 5 Hybrid to increase the quality of installation. Furthermore we have extensive installation and
          operation manuals for the installer as well as for the owner.
          So we as Bosch do as much as possible to fulfil all requirements. Any more questions please let us know via: [email protected].

          Regards

          Frederik

          • Vince Garrone 4 years ago

            Frederick,

            Acknowledging that the standards were formulated well before today’s technology, non compliance with them still raises questions about the degree of risk and responsibilty if things go awry. If for example, battery systems of >24V 10Ah are not within fire rated enclosures (BCA) or appropriately vented (various standards), and a failure causes property damage or personal injury, will insurance companies honour policies or consider the insurer in breach? The challenge in a new market is to ensure that all parties including customers are appropriately informed about the risks involved.

            So, with respect to the Trina package above, are you able to advise the degree of fire rating to which these systems comply and whether they meet the present BCA requirements for installation within a dwelling?

    • Greenradagast 4 years ago

      Paul. This is quite common here in Australia where we always seem to end up with the stuff that has just become obsolete in the rest of the world. We suffer from chronically slow government here, and a bunch of departments that seem to just want to keep themselves in a job. Speaking as an accredited designer, It’s very frustrating to say the least.

  2. RobS 4 years ago

    So Trina will sell for ~$9,000 what Tesla has just announced for $3,500? They’re going to need to do a lot better than that.

    • Diego Matter 4 years ago

      At the moment we don`t know what is included and what else is needed to have a complete storage system.

      Trina says it`s plug and play (including the inverter), Tesla doesn`t.
      Also Tesla`s PowerWall is only 2kW output. If you want 4kW, what is needed to be able to cook, you need two PowerWalls.

      So to compare apples to apples we should wait for the details.

      • RobS 4 years ago

        Tesla has since confirmed on multiple occasions that if you already have a solar inverter then their system is plug and play and simply goes between the panels and the inverter. I agree about the total power output issue however that is only an issue if we are referring to totally off grid scenarios where the grid cant top up demand during the few minutes a day of peak draw which is a tiny percentage of the total market. Furthermore, if you are going 100% off grid you are likely to need at least three powerwalls or trina units worth of storage capacity which makes the peak output from the Trina units kind of ridiculous in reality, far higher than it needs to be for grid smoothing or maximising self consumption as in that role only needs to be able to discharge its storage capacity over the course of ~12 hours of dark and far higher than it needs to be for off grid scenarios relative to its storage capacity.

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