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Aquila eyes battery storage business in Japan, plans bigger solar footprint

Aquila is looking at batteries both for its solar power plants and as stand-alone energy storage units. Image: Unsplash

German investor Aquila Capital is looking to expand its solar footprint in Japan and add a battery storage business in the Land of the Rising Sun.

"We started with the first acquisition which is currently under construction - a solar project - but we are now looking forward to also focus on battery energy storage systems," the company's Asia Pacific CEO Alexander Lenz said.

Lenz told Reuters he saw great potential for battery storage as countries would require time to transition their power grids to energy from renewable sources. "I strongly believe that batteries will be much more important than everyone thinks… I think batteries have a bigger potential in the short term (compared to solar)," he said, adding that Aquila was looking at batteries both for its solar power plants and as stand-alone energy storage units that could balance power fluctuations.

Japan too is betting big on batteries. Last week, the government offered three firms, including carmaker Toyota, $840 million in subsidy to strengthen the domestic battery supply chain and work on next-generation solid-state batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries.

The country wants renewable sources to account for 36-38 percent of its energy mix by the end of this decade and plans to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Aquila has a close relationship with Japanese firms. The company is 40 percent owned by Daiwa Securities and has set up a battery energy storage system in Ruien, Belgium with a Japanese partner. Aquila currently has nearly 2 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity in Asia Pacific, Lenz said, adding that capacity was spread across solar, wind and battery storage. 

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