Q Cells tips $5m into SwitchDin to taps solar and battery management technology

Global solar giant Q Cells has tapped the distributed energy management software platform of Australian start-up SwitchDin, to pair with its recently launched Q.Home solar and storage package, combining PV panels, a hybrid inverter, and lithium-ion battery of up to 12kWh.

Newcastle-based SwitchDin said on Tuesday that it had secured a $5 million investment from Q-Cells to help further develop SwitchDin’s technology while also helping the German-based PV manufacturer to move beyond rooftops to vertically integrated clean energy solutions.

SwitchDin, which was founded in 2014, has gone from strength to strength in the Australian market using its DER integration technology to provide visibility and control of the booming rooftop solar market, and the emerging market for home battery storage.

One of the company’s key contributions to Australia’s rapidly changing electricity grid has been in helping to establish end-user friendly virtual power plants, microgrids and advanced network services incorporating a range of behind the meter resources.

SwtichDin has also been working with a number of industry partners – Solar Analytics, GreenSync, Enphase Energy, Redback Technologies, Edge Electrons, Fronius, sonnen, Tesla, Wattwatchers and SMA – to put together a DER Visibility & Monitoring Best Practice Guide, to help solve the challenge of allowing more solar on the grid without destabilising it.

Q Cells, meanwhile, has been actively growing its portfolio of offerings in the distributed energy market. Last October it launched its “fully wrapped” Q.Home solar and storage package[1] with much fanfare at the All-Energy Australia conference and exhibition.

The previous May, the Korea-based $40 billion parent company Hanwha Group revealed plans to launch a “next generation” 100 per cent renewable electricity retailer in Australia – plans that are yet to come to fruition.

In a statement on Tuesday, Q Cells CEO Hee Cheul (Charles) Kim said Australia had been at the forefront of developing the DER market, backed by its long history of organic solar growth.

“Our investment in SwitchDin reflects our ambition to deliver a total clean energy solution together with a partner that has a proven track record which we believe will bring confidence to our customers,” Kim said.

For starters, Q Cells will incorporate SwitchDin’s DropletTM gateway and energy management solution, and the StormcloudTM orchestration platform into its newly launched Q.Home systems in Australia.

SwitchDin CEO, Andrew Mears – who contributed this article to One Step off The Grid just this week[2] – said the partnership with Q Cells would help accelerate development of SwitchDin’s technology and business in Australia and Europe, and broaden opportunities for collaboration on projects between utilities and manufacturers.

“The clean energy system is rapidly changing globally. Network operators and energy retailers are looking to partner with companies like SwitchDin to improve energy management and better orchestrate the growth of distributed energy resources and improve end-user participation,” Mears said.

“This partnership aligns with both of the companies’ growth ambitions across key markets. Q CELLS’ investment will accelerate SwitchDin’s ability to deliver real innovation to the market.”

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