Energy storage system MyReserve: "Highest priority on safety", Pol Spronck from Solarwatt says

12/6/16, 2:08 PM -

Expert interview: Pol Spronck, International Sales Manager of Solarwatt is discussing the crucial installers’ background of their distribution partners in the UK and Ireland and safety and quality aspects of the battery energy storage system MyReserve. (Part one, part two of the interview will follow).

Pol Spronck, International Sales Manager of Solarwatt is based in Netherlands.

pv Europe: You just hosted a one-week training programme for your new UK and Ireland distribution partners of the MyReserve in your German manufacturing centre. How did you select them?

Pol Spronck: Both our distribution partners for the UK and Ireland, Wind & Sun and BHC Distributors, have broad experience in the field renewables and PV. Wind & Sun also has long-term experience with battery systems, both on and off-grid. Both are already selling our solar modules, BHC since 2011. Now, as the leading providers in their territories, they are adding the MyReserve to their portfolio. For the market launch of the MyReserve in UK and Ireland, it is crucial that we select the right partners and that they have deep technical experience. Both have a strong installation background and have the resources to provide expert training to their installation partners. Wind & Sun has its own training centre for local installers.

pv Europe: What were some important contents of your training course in Dresden?

Pol Spronck: Main topics were the health and safety aspects of installing and transporting the MyReserve, lithium ion battery handling and diagnostics. We also undertook full training for installation, product service and software updating. The exhaustive programme further covered design, installation and commissioning of dual-glass solar PV modules and Energy Manager as a holistic system for optimisation of domestic self-sufficiency and self-consumption. Course leaders included Dr. Andreas Gutsch and Dr. Olaf Wollersheim, both formerly at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and now employed by Solarwatt, who are leading authorities on lithium-ion battery technology and energy storage, with several years’ experience.

Do you provide software service and remote monitoring for your energy management and battery systems also from your headquarters?

We provide a three-step service. First contact point for the end-customer is the fully trained and certified installer, the second port of call are our distributors, who are now full-service partners – they can also give technical phone assistance to the installers. The third service line is our headquarters, where customers and business partners can obtain online support via our interactive service platform. We have a central database for all our registered systems for tracking and tracing all batteries and which storage system they go in, so we know exactly where they are installed. The registration of these components unlocks the 10-year warranty and five-year all-risk insurance that come with the MyReserve. Our customers are already familiar with this process as this is also required for our industry-leading product and performance warranties on dual-glass modules – both of 30 years. 

With the Energy Manager you can remotely monitor the performance of the batteries and the PV system and manage electricity flows for electrical vehicle charging and home appliances as well as preference settings for excess power. That’s how we fulfil the three pillars of our offering: Generate, store and manage energy for your household.

Can the end users change the settings of your MyReserve battery systems themselves?

No, that would not be advisable so it’s not even possible. We place the highest priority on safety in the home. Our system is set up so that no intrusion, either via the web or physically, is possible. Our certified service partners are the only ones who can perform software updates to the system provided by our experts in Germany. They visit a customer’s property and connect a laptop – pre-prepared with special update and diagnostic software – via a special cable to the battery management system. Changing battery settings is disallowed for fire and IT safety reasons, for the proper handling of lithium-ion battery installations in a very sensitive environment – the home.

Does your battery design include special fire safety features?

Our specially developed battery cells feature ceramic separators on every single cell, comparable to those used in overhead high power voltage lines, which permanently isolate electric poles from each other. Each single battery cell is equipped with temperature sensors that make 1,000 measurements per second, to prevent overheating and eliminate the risk of a chain reaction. Additionally, the battery case is 1.3 centimetres (13mm) thick and doesn’t burn, even in the event of a thermal runaway (lithium ion catching fire or overheating). Safety has been fundamental in the development of our system and this – along with always ensuring the highest quality and service levels to our customers – is how we are introducing MyReserve to international markets step by step. You only get one opportunity to launch a product to a new market and we are taking no chances. Our goal is to establish our battery systems within the top three brands worldwide.

What about the responsiveness of your batteries?

With 126 measurements in the high-precision current sensor taking place per second, MyReserve has a very fast reaction time to change from charge to discharge mode. If you start your coffee machine for example, the power comes within less than 0.7 seconds from the battery, not from the grid. Also when no power is required, MyReserve switches to charge mode extremely quickly. Thereby we optimise self-consumption to keep the solar generated power inside the house. Our battery management  system has three powerful single-core processors to manage the batteries, and the batteries have an efficiency of 99.2%. The round-trip efficiency is 93% with 96% efficiency at the best point.

Interviewed by Hans-Christoph Neidlein

See part 2 of the interview:

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