HomeWorld RegionsAsiaBattery firm Moixa clinches major AI deal in Japan

Battery firm Moixa clinches major AI deal in Japan

UK smart battery company Moixa has rolled out its GridShare artificial intelligence platform to manage batteries for 3500 homes in Japan.

At an event at the British embassy in Tokyo today, it also launched a new smart tariff enabled by GridShare, that will reward home battery owners with lower prices for using electricity outside peak times.

GridShare uses artificial intelligence to optimize battery performance to help households minimise energy bills. It can also help utilities deliver smart tariffs and aggregate spare battery capacity to deliver a range of services to the grid.

Moixa’s Japanese deal comes as part of a collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan’s largest trading houses, and TRENDE Inc, a new venture of TEPCO Ventures, a subsidiary of the country’s biggest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO).

GridShare is now included as standard in ITOCHU’s Smart Star home energy storage systems and Moixa currently manages what is believed to be the world’s largest live cluster of batteries with a combined capacity of more than 35MWh.

Moixa chief executive Simon Daniel said: “We expect to use GridShare to manage a significant proportion of batteries in Japan, one of world’s largest markets for home storage. GridShare uses artificial intelligence to learn about each owner’s energy use and develops a unique charging plan to meet their needs and maximise savings. It can also use spare battery capacity ” or flexibility ” to earn income by providing services to the grid that support more renewable generation and help manage electric vehicle charging.

“Our partnerships with ITOCHU and TEPCO Group are a vote of confidence in British battery and software technology and are built on the experience we have gained in the UK. We are becoming a ‘Smart Energy Island’, using new flexibility and battery technologies to manage intermittent solar and wind power, support the growing demands of electric vehicle charging, and balance supply and demand on the grid.”

Both ITOCHU and TEPCO Group have invested in Moixa, which has pioneered the management of distributed batteries and holds international patents on aggregating batteries for grid services.

GridShare uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise the performance of batteries and electric vehicles for each owner, developing a charging plan to maximise savings tailored to their needs and behaviour. It learns patterns of home energy and electric vehicle use, calculates generation from solar panels, and takes into account weather forecasts and smart tariffs.

GridShare can also manage large fleets of batteries, aggregating owners’ spare capacity to act as a virtual power plant, importing and exporting energy to deliver services to the electricity grid. ITOCHU is selling 800 10kWh Smart Star L systems a month, so in a year Moixa said it could be aggregating nearly 100MWh of flexible capacity.

Koji Hasegawa, General Manager of Industrial Chemicals Department of ITOCHU said: “Moixa’s AI and optimisation technology helps our customers get extra value from their Smart Star batteries, in maximising solar resources or preparing for weather risk, or taking advantage of our new partner tariffs with TEPCO’s TRENDE.'”

In the future, ITOCHU will work with Moixa to develop diverse business operations based on the GridShare platform, including Virtual Power Plant businesses, electric vehicle charging management, energy services aimed at power transmission and distribution business operators and power generation operators, and peer-to-peer energy transactions between general consumers.”

As well as selling own-brand batteries, ITOCHU is also a major supplier of materials and components for leading international energy storage brands, and it plans to work with Moixa to promote GridShare into the world’s battery supply chain.

Moixa began working with ITOCHU in January after they announced a strategic partnership to market GridShare and integrate it into Smart Star home energy storage systems. Chris Wright, Moixa’s chief technology officer, said: “Since forming our partnership six months ago we have localised the GridShare platform for Japan, adapted our machine learning technology to the Japanese context, integrated with ITOCHU’s Smart Star ESS, onboarded more than 3,500 consumer systems and added the capability to support TRENDE’s special tariff.”

Japan is a prime market for GridShare. It is the world’s fourth biggest solar market, with 11 GW generated by home systems and one of the world’s leading markets for home batteries, with more than 125,000 energy storage systems in 2016. It also has more than 200,000 electric vehicles on the roads, making it the world’s third largest market.

In recent years earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters have caused widespread power outages, driving interest in solar power and storage systems, which reduce households’ dependence on the grid.

Growing numbers of homes are also looking to install batteries so they can maximise consumption of the electricity they generate from solar panels, with many coming to the end of their feed-in-tariffs. Japan’s feed-in-tariff system, introduced in 2009, only pays homes for exporting energy to the grid for ten years.

TRENDE, a renewable energy retailer, was launched earlier this year and its smart tariff aims to offer solar owners a new opportunity to save on their energy bills, offering discount rates for charging their batteries off-peak.