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Photovoltaic firm sees sunny prospects for grid storage

While renewable integration at scale is giving rise to grid instability in China, energy storage will be the answer to this challenge, said a top company official.

Generation of solar energy will rise exponentially in the years to come, which will spur great demand for storage solutions as a high proportion of solar power, as well as other renewables in energy grids, are causing supply imbalances, said Gao Jifan, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar Co Ltd, one of the leading photovoltaic companies in China.

With the rise of renewable energy, demand for energy storage solutions — the missing piece of the energy transition puzzle — has been and will be growing rapidly, Gao said.

China should further step up photovoltaic efforts together with energy storage, the latter of which can strongly support the transition to renewable energy with rapid technological developments, he added.

Taking advantage of its decades of solar industry know-how, Trina Solar launched Trina Storage last year to help meet the growing demand for storage in the years to come.

It also jointly set up the China Energy Storage Industry Innovation Alliance in August, which includes 62 member companies to further facilitate the country's campaign to seek breakthroughs in long-duration storage technologies while facilitating a new power system dominated by new energy modalities including wind and solar, Gao said.

Trina Solar will continue stepping up investment in energy storage to make sure the combination of renewable energy with energy storage is as affordable and stable as that of thermal power by 2030, he added.

Li Jingru, vice-president of State Grid Economic and Technological Research Institute Co Ltd, said energy storage, as a flexible strategy for adjusting resource allocation, plays a key role in the large-scale wind and solar energy sectors in the country as China goes full throttle on its green energy transition to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Energy storage is likely to embrace massive opportunities in China as the country has been promoting storage technologies in accordance with a massive wind and solar capacity build-out to allow exports of large-scale clean energy to other regions, Li said.

According to market reports, the global utility and C&I (Commercial& Industrial) energy storage markets will attract more than $560 billion in investment by 2040.

"The future of our energy infrastructure lies in smart storage solutions for diverse applications," she said.

"With solar power, together with other renewable energy modalities, to play the major role in China's energy mix, energy storage will play a key part in ensuring steady operation of the grid and its potential of flexible adjustment has not been played to its full extent."

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