The changes in energy production and storage are massive: Prices for both batteries and electricity from renewable energies have fallen sharply. It is becoming apparent that even more is possible here – and that a German company could play a leading role.
What has happened so far?
In his presentation at the Berlin Green Investment Summit, Jochen Wermuth demonstrated the path that has already been taken in terms of solar energy costs. The costs for one MWh generated by solar energy have fallen massively to a very competitive level:
The dynamics are also strong for batteries. Particularly in China, enormously storage capacities are being created.
Further cost reductions possible through innovative products
But the market continues to develop dynamically. Further innovative developments are already emerging on the horizon. They could make solar and battery technologies even more competitive. At the Berlin Green Investment Summit, I got to know three of these companies working on exciting technologies.
NexWafe: Solar energy 20-30% cheaper
One is the Freiburg-based company NexWafe, which is a spin-off of the Frauenhofer Institute. Through innovations in wafer production, NexWafe manages to save 50% of CAPEX, resources and CO². In addition, NexWafe wafers can be used much more flexibly and open up new fields of application. According to Stefan Reber, NexWafe’s technology can save 20-30% per solar kWh generated.
XNRGI: Batteries from semiconductor factories with -90% CAPEX
The second company whose presentation left a lasting impression on me is XNRGI. XNRGI has developed a new battery manufacturing technology that makes it possible to manufacture batteries based on the semiconductor manufacturing processes.
What is so exciting about it? With this technology you don’t have to build battery factories anymore, but can – similar to Apple – utilize the production capacities of existing semiconductor manufacturers. This can lead to very significant cost savings. In his presentation, Paul Sidlo talks about CAPEX savings of up to 90%.
Jeremy Grantham’s Investment: Twice as powerful batteries
Legenday Value Investor Jeremy Grantham also recently talked about one of his investments that could be a quantum leap for battery technology. The company’s batteries – he unfortunately did not mention the name of the company – are not flammable and twice as powerful as current batteries. So you can either save 50% of the weight for the same power or double the power for the same weight.
Greenstone: Digital disruptive power supplier
Innovations in the energy sector go beyond energy production. The Berlin company Greenstone is working on the digital disruption of the utility business. With their digital technology they want to be 10x more efficient than the old energy suppliers, who have problems with the flexible needs of renewable energies with their classic business.
Conclusion: There is a tremendous dynamic in the cost of solar and battery power.
There are still numerous hurdles to overcome for the technologies of the companies presented here. But if they make it into the market, they could once again significantly reduce the costs for solar and batteries. This would have a massive impact on our energy landscape and would continue the trend of falling costs.