China’s top solar panel manufacturer is pouring massive time, money and effort into solving the single biggest problem stymying the uptake of renewable energy – the lack of reliable energy storage options. Solar farm operators are often hamstrung by having limited or no options for storing their extra energy created during daylight hours for use when the sun literally doesn’t shine.
In its latest major advance to tackle that problem, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. said it has signed its first European energy storage agreement with Germany’s Memodo, which will see the Chinese company’s storage systems included in new solar projects built using its solar panels across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland through the end of 2023.
Last week, the company showed off a new battery for household premises at an industry event in Munich, where it also announced its latest tie-up. That development follows a similar tie-up last September, when JinkoSolar said it signed a strategic framework agreement with CATL (300750.SZ), the world’s biggest maker of lithium batteries.
Memodo is a PV panel wholesaler, and its new agreement confirms it will sell JinkoSolar’s PV panels with several storage options, ranging from an all-in-one system consisting of a hybrid inverter and battery with an emergency power function, through to stackable low-voltage and high-voltage batteries. Batteries being used in the system have the formal and rather inelegant name of JKS-BXXX37-CS.
JinkoSolar reported a tidy gross profit of 2.23 billion yuan ($238 million) on revenues of 14.76 billion yuan in this year’s first quarter, up 64% and 68% from a year earlier, respectively.
It said the Russia-Ukraine war had highlighted the need for solar energy in Europe, and the company expects incremental increases in demand from Europe in the next year and further steady growth after that.
Li Xiande, JinkoSolar’s Chairman and CEO said recently, said: “We expect total global installations to reach about 250 GW in 2022 and distributed generation to make up a higher proportion of the energy mix in countries traditionally reliant on gas-fired and thermal power.”
The decidedly different reactions from investors in New York and Shanghai to JinkoSolar’s latest tie-up could reflect different attitudes to renewable energy in China and the west. There is a big push toward renewable energy sources in the U.S. and Europe. By comparison, China has also been promoting renewables, but is still heavily reliant on coal and remains the world’s biggest polluter.
In New York, JinkoSolar’s shares have produced a stellar 60% return for investors in the last 12 months. But the last year has been kind to U.S.-listed energy stocks in general, with the sector up 44% since Jan. 1.