First Gigafactory in South Africa- SolarMD

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Cape Town-based energy equipment and solutions provider Solar MD is expanding its production capabilities for South Africa to meet the expected demand for renewable-energy solutions, owing to the country’s anticipated energy transition.

“Our current manufacturing capacity is 180 MWh/y and we expect to double this capacity over the next six to nine months,” says Solar MD CEO Kaloyan Dimov.

Solar MD expects to be the first gigafactory in Africa supplying lithium-ion battery packs and solutions throughout Africa.

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Dimov says Solar MD’s high-voltage battery packs are modular and have been operational at more than 25 commercial and industrial sites, such as shopping malls, farms, mines and industrial operations, as of last year, which is aiding South Africa’s transition towards sustainable energy.

Solar MD supplies lithium-ion batteries to more than 10 000 users, and the company’s support team can update software and firmware, as well as optimise the performance of the batteries.

The company also provides energy management systems for its battery energy storage system (BESS) containerised solutions for municipal clients.

These systems monitor demand for the lithium-ion batteries and supply energy from the batteries when demand is high or during peak consumption hours when the energy price is high.

Further, Solar MD’s electronic manufacturing service artificial intelligence algorithm can determine lower, off-peak prices, as well as determine excess solar photovoltaic (PV) or wind energy required to recharge the batteries.

Dimov explains that these solutions are implemented using Solar MD’s proprietary software that supports multiple energy meters, PV inverters and other sensors.

The solutions are implemented mainly in the commercial and industrial sector, but are also becoming relevant at utility-scale on municipal level, she says.

Dimov adds that Solar MD’s energy management systems are software-based, while the necessary hardware is the cost-effective Logger V2, which connects to existing components of the system such as meters, generators inverters and chargers.

These systems have been on the market since the company’s inception in 2015 and were initially used to monitor and control the company’s energy storage systems, which have extended to some inverters and meters.

“At this stage, we connect the systems to the necessary devices to improve their functionality. We are the leading energy management provider with our energy management and battery storage solutions implemented throughout Africa, as well as in export markets, such as Europe and the US,” says Dimov.

He explains that, while energy from the sun is available during the day, its energy does not necessarily meet the demand of consumers for the morning and evening hours. 

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