Vertically integrated advanced energy manufacturing from SolarEdge


SolarEdge isn’t just a solar power company. In South Korea it is a battery manufacturer, and an energy storage solutions provider. In Europe it has a little bit of solar panel sales going on. In the United States it is mostly an inverter manufacturer. In Italy it makes electric car components. To some homeowners it is a full home management company. And I bet in Israel, SolarEdge is a hometown hero.

At the SolarEdge booth – scalable 40 kWh Commercial/Industrial focused energy storage solution, with AC and DC coupling option. Available ~May 2020.

pv magazine USA interviewed Lior Handelsman, a founder and current VP of Marketing & Product Strategy of SolarEdge, while at Solar Power International a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City.

The heaviest impression, that had already been building, is the breadth of  SolarEdge’s operations within our new energy industry. SolarEdge is still fundamentally based on solar power, however, it is turning into a vertically integrated energy manufacturer and service provider.

The preceding image is a ~May 2020 energy storage solution that will be offered to the commercial market. It’s a scalable 40 kW / 40 kWh piece of hardware that will have both AC and DC coupling ability. In the lower left image of the following tweet, you see the company’s broad residential solar+energy storage+car charging offerings. Specifically noted was a three phase StorEdge residential inverter being deployed to enable 48V batteries for the growing European energy storage market.

On the utility scale, Lior reminded us that Kokam is sold out with its several hundred MWh/year manufacturing capacity – and that the company was seeking to scale the facility to 2 GWh/year capacity. Kokam has deployed almost 300 MWh of energy storage across a broad swath of industry – commercial, defense, utility, personal, aviation, and submarine. The company’s 40-foot shipping container product (beautiful pdf) fits 5.8 MWh and offers an 8,000 cycle lifetime.

And speaking of utility scale work, there are a few inverter (yes, SolarEdge makes those still) announcements:

  • There’s upgraded optimizer, specifically built around optimizing the cabling of the units in the utility environment, that allows four solar modules to connect to connect to a single unit.
  • The utility-scale inverter – a 40 kW based inverter line called Synergy – is getting an expansion to include a base unit size of 75 kW. This will allow for combined units totalling both 120 kW and 225 kW.
  • A future 380 kW utility scale inverter is coming.
  • A “surprise” inverter for the utility scale is coming (this has been chatted about for a few earnings calls).
  • And, just a note that the company is now part of about than 200 MWac of utility scale projects.

Heavily noted was the company move into broader energy management. The below image is from the company’s virtual reality show inside of their booth. The purpose of the VR tour was to show how SolarEdge wasn’t just going to shift your electricity from DC to AC, but also wanted to help manage your demand changes if you’re a C&I customer, in case of a power outage at the house they’d slow your hot water tank, keep the lights on, and turn the battery on. They’d also take into consideration when to charge your car – and maybe even use your car to protect yourself in an electricity outage.

And beyond that normal hardware, the company thinks your pool pump, your refrigerator, and washer and dryer should be included in the equation. All of these things allow them to optimize your consumption, and when coupled into their broader visibility of the grid as a whole.

If you wanted, you could actually order a whole community level microgrid from SolarEdge. Solar panels, inverters, energy storage, car charges, automatic transfer switches to integrate other energy sources, and of course the broad management software needed to make it sing.

When asked about this integration, and the complexity of the song, Lior noted that all of these parts are designed to work on their own. The inverter still converts, the batteries still feed, and the cars still charge if they’re running alone. However, when tied together you start to see the cacophony of the specification pages and construction give way to a harmony of electricity.

And, just in case anyone was considering a visit of their own at Solar Power International in Anaheim 2020, the SolarEdge booth was quite hospitable with espresso, cookies, and later in the day – libations at the Solar Bar.