SMA and E.ON develop world's first modular large-scale battery


Germany’s SMA Group – a leading global suppliers of solar inverters – has teamed up with German energy company E.ON to develop the world’s first modular large-scale battery storage system.

Given the moniker the M5BAT, this 5 MW battery storage system is the result of a collaboration between the E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH Aachen University, SMA Solar Technology AG, E.ON electric utility company, and battery manufacturers Exide and Beta Motion.

Funding for the project came via a €6.5 million grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, as part of its Energy Storage Funding Initiative.

The M5BAT breaks new boundaries in power storage thanks to its modular design, which achieves optimal efficiency thanks to its combination of different battery technologies. The M5BAT comprises lithium-ion batteries that meet short-term power demand, lead-acid batteries that respond to discharge times of one hour or less, and high-temperature batteries that can supply power for several hours.

The battery storage system will become the first of its kind anywhere in the world, utilizing its modularity setup to deliver optimum levels of power. The first phase of the project will focus on integrating renewable energy sources and testing a decentralized supply of control power in order to stabilize grid operation.

"To achieve a 100% renewable power supply, adding large-scale storage systems to the utility grid is of vital importance," said SMA senior VP for hybrid and storage, Volker Wachenfeld. "These systems back up the power from renewable sources and help stabilize utility grids. This research project will provide us with important data on how large-scale battery inverters can be used in the utility grid in the future.

"The goal is to develop a concept for modular and flexibly scalable battery inverter systems that can be used to supply all critical grid management services in the utility grid."