April 2, 2020: Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery storage systems, owned by battery storage system developer Tesvolt and sited in Wittenberg, Germany, has begun semi-automated production despite the global Covid-19 crisis bringing many industries to a standstill, the firm said on April 1.
Tesvolt will make 9.6kWh to megawatt-size battery storage systems on a 12,000m2 production area, with its new production line able to produce up to 1MWh a day, the firm says.
“The factory is designed so that the production capacity can be expanded to as much as one gigawatt,” Tesvolt says. “Tesvolt will be gradually adding capacity to account for the current increase in demand, seeing as its order volume has almost tripled since the same quarter last year.”
Tesvolt says one of its most important innovations is the semi-automated full cycling it has introduced.
“Every battery module is fully charged and discharged and checked for anomalies in terms of temperature, voltage and internal resistance. After this step, fully automated end-of-line inspection ensures the highest possible quality.”
Tesvolt managing director Daniel Hannemann said the virus pandemic was a major concern, but strong turnover in the first quarter of the year and rising demand for storage systems with an emergency power function were good signs.
“We don’t know how demand will change in light of the coronavirus crisis,” said Hannemann. “We want to work closely with our customers to overcome these new challenges in a spirit of solidarity, creativity, flexibility and ingenuity.”
Staff who could had been working from home for three weeks, and in production, employees were still at work ‘but isolated from one another’, said Simon Schandert, director of engineering and also a co-founder of Tesvolt.
“We’re lucky that production is continuing at our battery cell supplier Samsung SDI in Korea,” he said.
Germany has introduced lock-down measures to try to curtail the spread of Covid-19, as in other countries, with the closure of all shops, bars and entertainment venues.