UK domestic “smart battery” developer Moixa has secured £2.5 million in new investment “to help realise its goal of creating a virtual power plant aggregating the capacity of 100 000 home batteries.”

A £1 million funding facility from Greater Manchester Combined Authority will see Moixa open a regional sales and delivery centre in the city that “will drive the company’s growth in the north west [of England] by offering solar and storage products to private customers and pursuing multi-thousand unit deployments with social housing clients.

The company has also secured £1.5 million in equity investment, including £500 000 from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and £500 000 from venture capital investor First Imagine! Ventures.

Moixa says it expects to pilot its “cost effective and compact” battery systems in Tokyo in a proof of concept trial with TEPCO and other Japanese partners later this year. It is also planning trials in Europe and the US within the next 12 months.

Lady Barbara Judge, chairman of the UK Institute of Directors and Athene Capital, is an investor in the latest round and will sit on Moixa’s international advisory group as it starts to consider export markets. She joins existing high-profile investors from the energy industry, Sam Laidlaw and Ian Marchant, the former CEOs of Centrica and SSE, and Brian Count former chief operating officer of RWE npower.

By 2020 Moixa says it expects to have installed 50 000 UK batteries and to be managing twice as many using its patented, cloud-based “GridShare” platform. This would “create a virtual power plant aggregating around 250 MWh of capacity to deliver services to the National Grid and utilities that will help reduce the costs of running the electricity network and allow it to support increased levels of renewables”, helping to “maintain a stable frequency to avoid blackouts and relieve stress by absorbing excess generation from wind and solar farms.”

Moixa has been awarded UK and US patents on managing distributed batteries for grid services.

The company says it has installed nearly 1000 battery storage systems in the UK with a combined nine million hours of operation, giving it the field experience to scale up its roll-out of products and demand response services.

Solar panels typically cut household electricity bills by up to 30% and batteries can add further savings of 20% by allowing residents to store the free energy generated during the day for use at night, Moixa estimates. In addition, customers are offered £50 a year GridShare payments in return for aggregating their battery capacity in virtual power plants.

Moixa is pioneering battery aggregation in a series of projects in the UK, working with a wide range of councils, utilities and community energy groups:

  • A trial with Northern Powergrid near Barnsley links 40 home batteries to demonstrate how virtual power plants can relieve pressures on the electricity network and enable more homes to install solar panels without having to upgrade the local network. The project is expected to halve residents’ energy bills and save millions in the costs of running the UK’s power network, Moixa says.
  • It is working with Oxford City Council on a two-year project which aims to tackle fuel poverty in one of the city’s most deprived communities. It links smart batteries in 82 homes, a school and community centre with 300 kWp of solar panels creating a virtual smart local energy grid allowing the community to maximise use of the free energy it generates.
  • It is working with Hitachi on a £10.8 million project on the Scilly Isles that should lay the foundations for the islands to cut electricity bills by 40% and boost renewables by 40%. It is developing platforms to enable home batteries and electric vehicles to help balance supply and demand within the islands’ energy system.
  • It has supplied smart batteries to National Energy Action projects in social housing in Camden, Islington and Waltham Forest.