Leading German solar manufacturer Solarwatt has announced the imminent launch of a sleek looking new residential battery energy storage system it has developed in partnership with fellow German heavyweight, luxury car maker BMW Group.
In a statement on Wednesday, Solarwatt said it had developed the lithium-ion Battery flex home storage system using components also used in BMW’s growing fleet of electric cars and would be making it available through certified premium installers from autumn 2021 (spring in the Southern Hemisphere).
The Dresden-based solar company said the battery modules were manufactured entirely in Germany in close cooperation with the BMW Group, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
A battery management system, which enabled safe operation of the storage unit at all times, had also been developed in-house by Dr Olaf Wollersheim, who heads up the team at Solarwatt Innovation.
Solarwatt said the modular battery system would offer a “flexible” capacity range, from anywhere between 4.8kWh to more than 240kWh, allowing it to be “perfectly adapted” to existing solar systems. It also would be suitable for retrofitting to any existing solar system, the company said, being available in AC- and DC-hybrid.
The system is also said to be “easily” installed by just one person, with the individual components of Battery flex weighing no more than 25kg each. The full specs for the battery can be seen here.
Solarwatt CEO Detlef Neuhaus said”Battery flex” was a “strong symbol” of the partnership between Solarwatt and the BMW Group, which has been in place since April 2013, initially around the development of rooftop solar systems and carports for BMW i customers.
“E-mobility and photovoltaics simply belong together inseparably,” Neuhaus said. “Because only if as many electric cars as possible are charged with renewable electricity, such as solar power, does the shift to electromobility make any sense at all, ecologically and economically. That’s the only way we can make the world a little better as a result.”
Solarwatt said the development of the new electricity storage system was the logical next step in the collaboration, which was based around the common goal of developing further customer-centric and sustainable solutions.
“The [battery module] production is …carried out by us – but with the same quality standards that are used in the automotive industry,” Neuhaus said.
“In addition, the storage unit also has an attractive design that immediately catches the eye. Battery flex is, so to speak, the BMW among battery storage units and the ideal addition to any photovoltaic system.”
BMW Group’s Dr. Eric Hamm, who is head of drive systems for industrial customers and remanufacturing, said that the automaker paid particular attention to sustainability, high energy density and efficiency when making batteries for its EVs.
“We attach great importance to ensuring that all environmental and social standards are met in our supply chains. Therefore, the cell modules with their special properties are also ideal for use outside the vehicle.
“We are pleased that through our partnership with Solarwatt we can make an additional positive contribution to further bringing photovoltaics and electromobility together,” Hamm said.
Whether the late 2021 retail launch date applies in the Australian market remains to be seen. Solarwatt Australia said in a statement to One Step that it would “most certainly be bringing the Battery Flex into Australia,” and “quite simply we cant wait for it to reach our shores.” An estimated time of arrival was yet to be determined.