RCT Power announces battery plant in eastern China
Its new plant is situated close to facilities owned by many of the components suppliers it works with in China. “The infrastructure in Suzhou is excellent and we can draw from a pool of highly skilled workers,” Thomas Hauser, managing director of RCT Power, said in an online statement.
The company says it can “easily” expand the factory beyond its current output, if necessary. It will operate in tandem with its German production facilities in Konstanz and Pfullingen, where the company primarily develops power inverters.
The Konstanz-based manufacturer, which specializes in AC- and DC-coupled three-phase storage systems for use with new and operational PV arrays, will continue to produce battery modules in southern Germany. However, it sees its expansion into the Chinese market as “essential” to its future growth.
RCT Power characterized the decision to launch production in China as a strategic response to rising demand for PV-battery storage systems in Europe. Demand has been particularly strong in Germany, where it says sales of residential storage systems have surpassed expectations.
Other companies have also started to ramp up their focus on the growing European storage market. In April, for example, French utility Engie revealed plans to work with German storage specialist Sonnen to provide solar-plus-storage solutions in the French residential PV market. Their systems will be designed for self-consumption and will feature Sonnen’s MyPower battery solution.
A recent report by GTM Research indicated that Germany is one of the continent’s leading storage markets, with 135 MW of capacity added in 2017. Most of the systems that were installed were front-of-meter solutions, but the residential and commercial segments are continuing to grow, due in part to the expansion of the residential solar+storage program, the KfW 275.
However, Frauke Thies, executive director of smartEn, recently wrote in pv magazine that a number of issues are still holding back storage deployment in Europe. He said that the Clean Energy Package the European Commission is now discussing could lead to the elimination of many of these barriers.