Canadian Solar invests in British ‘merchant battery’ AI company


Sino-Canadian solar manufacturer and project developer Canadian Solar today announced a “strategic partnership and investment” with a U.K. firm which offers AI and machine-learning-guided systems to optimize energy storage assets.

In a press release which included no details of how the arrangement has been structured, Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian said its new partner, Oxford-based Habitat Energy Limited has its own trading platform and proprietary software PowerIQ, and maximizes income from utility scale storage assets.

A spokesperson for Canadian Solar has subsequently told pv magazine its investment involved purchasing Habitat shares but was not prepared to reveal what proportion of shares were acquired, or at what purchase price. A Habitat Energy representative told pv magazine the investment represented a minority stake in the business.

The English company in December secured the contract to optimize the services of a 2 MW/8 MWh vanadium flow battery near Hawker, in the state of South Australia, which is co-located with a 6 MW solar farm. The project was described, in a Canadian Solar press release today, as “the world's largest solar powered vanadium flow battery.”

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Canadian Solar is ramping up its energy storage portfolio after establishing itself as one of the world's leading PV project developers.

The solar manufacturer's CEO, Shawn Qu, said: “The power grid of tomorrow is not only built by renewable energy and battery storage, but crucially driven by artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, cloud computing, and many more technologies. Habitat Energy is the proven leader in AI-enabled battery optimization and dispatch services. We strongly share Habitat Energy's belief that making merchant battery storage investable at scale is a vital step towards delivering a low carbon future and the preservation of our habitat for generations to come.”

This copy was updated on 17/05/21 to include Canadian Solar's response to pv magazine‘s question about the nature of the partnership and further amended, on 24/05/21, to include Habitat's confirmation the investment constituted a minority holding of its shares by Canadian.

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