UK smart battery company Moixa has agreed a partnership with Itochu, one of Japan’s largest trading houses. The deal includes a £5 million investment to push Moixa’s AI-enabled battery systems to the global market.
Smart batteries from London-based Moixa can be installed in homes to store electricity when it’s at its cheapest. They are designed to give customers more control over their energy use, while protecting them from price hikes and power outages, and Moixa’s GridShare technology underpins a network of smart batteries that sells excess electricity back to the grid.
Itochu, meanwhile, is a sogo shosha (a Japanese general trading company), the second largest after Mitsubishi Corporation, and works in a wide range of markets, from textiles and chemicals to information technology and real estate.
It already sells smart batteries, but Moixa’s GridShare technology has captured its interest. This is what enables Moixa customers to profit from their increased energy efficiency, since electricity stored during periods of low pricing or topped up by solar panels is sold back to the national grid, with a share of the profits going to each member of the network.
GridShare technology goes east
Itochu will have sold more than 6,000 units its ‘Smart Star’ home battery system by the end of March and plans to install GridShare as standard on its products by the summer of 2018.
Japan leads the way in terms of domestic energy storage. More than 125,000 smart systems were sold in 2016. Moixa and Itochu expect this number to exceed 500,000 in 2020. Japan also sits third in the global table of electric vehicle adoption.
Koji Hasegawa, general manager of Itochu’s industrial chemicals department, said: “Moixa has pioneered battery management, and we are proud to be investing and working together to target the rapidly growing energy storage market in Japan.”
“Moixa’s GridShare will help our customers get more value for their home batteries and will offer solutions to help our partners manage Japan’s low-carbon transition.”
Moixa’s ‘Virtual Power Plant’
The Moixa-Itochu partnership is a step towards developing Japan’s ‘Virtual Power Plant’. This forward-looking business model is based on making sure that distributed energy sources – including domestic solar panels and smart battery storage – are controlled in an integrated manner.
Moixa already has significant interest from stakeholders in Japan. Last year, it received investment from utility provider Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). It also has a partnership with Hitachi to develop a smart energy network in the Isles of Scilly.
Moixa CEO Simon Daniel sees the Itochu partnership as the next step in his company’s global expansion. “Itochu is a major player in the global battery market and this partnership provides a real opportunity for us to expand our business in Japan and provide GridShare technology to many global battery companies,” he said.
“GridShare optimises the performance of home batteries by learning patterns of household energy use and solar generation, and adjusting to local weather and energy price signals. It can also help customers make more money by using their spare battery capacity to provide services that help utilities and electricity networks balance supply and demand.”