Itochu invests £5 Million in Moixa to Advance AI for Smart Batteries

January 29, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Moixa today announced a strategic partnership with one of Japan's largest trading houses, Itochu Corporation, to market its GridShare platform, which manages and optimizes home energy storage systems.

The agreement enables Moixa to launch GridShare in the rapidly growing Japanese battery market. Itochu, which is ranked 215th in the Fortune 500, will also help fund international expansion by investing £5 million in Moixa, adding to its investments in leading British companies such as Paul Smith and Kwik Fit.

Itochu will have sold over 6,000 units of "Smart Star" home battery systems through its distribution network in Japan by the end of March 2018 and will install GridShare as standard on products by the summer of 2018. The technology will save customers money by using artificial intelligence to optimize the performance of their battery based on their patterns of behavior, the weather conditions and market prices.

Itochu is also a major supplier of battery chemistry to leading energy storage brands, and will work with Moixa to promote GridShare to address the growing market for battery management services.

Japan had over 125,000 energy storage systems in 2016, which Moixa and Itochu forecast will exceed 500,000 in 2020, and also has the world's third largest fleet of electric vehicles.

GridShare optimizes the performance of batteries and can also manage large fleets of devices to help support solar generation, control vehicle charging and deliver services to the electricity grid.

Koji Hasegawa, General Manager of Industrial Chemicals Department at ITOCHU, said: "Moixa has pioneered battery management, and we are proud to be investing and working together to target the rapidly growing energy storage market in Japan. Moixa's GridShare will help our customers get more value for their home batteries and will offer solutions to help our partners manage Japan's low-carbon transition."

The Itochu partnership further strengthens Moixa's relationships in the country, following investment last year from the country's largest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and a partnership with Hitachi to develop a smart energy grid in the Isles of Scilly.

Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa, said: "Itochu is a major player in the global battery market and this partnership provides a real opportunity for us to expand our business in Japan and provide GridShare technology to many global battery companies.

"GridShare optimizes the performance of home batteries by learning patterns of household energy use and solar generation, and adjusting to local weather and energy price signals. It can also help customers make more money by using their spare battery capacity to provide services that help utilities and electricity networks balance supply and demand."

Launch pad for international expansion

Moixa has excellent support from its partners to expand internationally. It has raised £500,000 from existing shareholders alongside the £5 million from Itochu.  This follows £2 million raised in 2017 plus a £1 million funding facility from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Moixa will now seek to expand its GridShare partnerships with Japanese utilities and electric vehicle manufacturers and to market services to electricity networks. It is also planning trials in the US and Europe this year.

Japan is one of the world's leading home battery markets and GridShare offers significant benefits to consumers, utilities and electricity networks. It is now the fourth biggest solar market in the world after Germany, China and India with 11GW generated by home systems.

Many Japanese solar manufacturers are marketing home batteries, with attractive consumer credit packages available. They not only allow consumers to use more of the energy they generate but also provide back-up power in a country prone to earthquakes and typhoons.

GridShare now offers consumers extra saving opportunities, helping to compensate for feed-in-tariffs which are only available for 10 years and will begin to expire from 2019.

Battery aggregation is also attractive to utilities such as TEPCO to help manage solar growth and support smart tariffs, by using intelligent storage management to even out peaks and troughs in demand for power. It  also offers an opportunity to make the electricity grid more resilient to disruption from earthquakes.

GridShare trialed in major UK projects

Moixa is the British leader in smart battery technology. It has installed nearly 1,000 systems in the UK, and it has pioneered software to optimize the performance of each battery, and to aggregate multiple distributed batteries to create virtual power plants. The company holds patents in the UK, US and Australia on distributed smart battery systems, and aggregating batteries for grid services.

Artificial intelligence and optimization algorithms are being increasingly used in the energy system to detect and identify savings opportunities. Google, for example, has achieved 15% energy savings in its data centers.

GridShare is currently delivering services across the UK for contracts supported by major utilities, network operators and public bodies such as the European Regional Development Fund, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and Innovate UK.