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Timing of external events can go for or against you. After my last blog highlighted the ongoing battle for owning EV charging and energy management in the home, Nissan’s launch of a solar offering in the UK was perfectly timed as I sat down to write about how automotive companies are edging into what some utilities will consider to be their own territory.
Some see Nissan’s work with V2G, storage and second life batteries as primarily learning and positioning exercises, helping them better understand these topics and link themselves to renewable energy for the benefit of their core business: selling cars. But the launch of their solar offering means that it’s becoming harder and harder to have a high level of confidence in this view.
This week, Wärtsilä announced the acquisition of Greensmith Energy, the US-based system integrator and software company which specialises in developing grid-scale energy storage solutions. This move marks the latest milestone for Wärtsilä as they continue to diversify into hybrid power solutions (and microgrids), including the integration of solar PV and energy storage alongside their traditional engine-based power generation offerings. The acquisition is expected to be completed in July 2017.
In April last year, Wärtsilä announced that it would enter the solar energy business by offering utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions. The new solutions included solar PV power plants of 10 MWe and above, and hybrid power plants comprising solar PV installations and internal combustion engines. Both solutions are offered with full engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capability. Wärtsilä has previously set a target of delivering 200 MWe of solar installations by 2018. It’s not clear whether this target will be revised following the acquisition. What is clear, however, is that Wärtsilä is serious about hybrids and moving outside their comfort zone of manufacturing and selling engines.
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