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Brands and channels are king, and the head effect is obvious

January 9, 2022

The energy storage industry is taking advantage of the momentum, brands and channels are king, and the head effect is obvious


Recently, Canadian Solar disclosed its third-quarter financial report, and the energy storage business was quite dazzling, attracting industry attention.

As of the end of September 2021, Canadian energy storage projects under construction reached 2.9GWh, and reserve projects reached 21GWh. Compared with the end of January 2021, the projects under construction at that time were 0.9GWh and the reserve projects were 6.5GWh.

Canadian Solar's energy storage business has grown rapidly and has taken the lead in the world, relying on the brand advantages and channel resources of its photovoltaic business in the world, especially in overseas markets.

In recent years, with the increase in the proportion of new energy sources and the decrease in the cost of lithium batteries, the energy storage business has gradually become feasible. In addition, the United States and other regions have adopted tax credit policies under the "photovoltaic + energy storage" model, which has further stimulated the promotion of the energy storage business.

In the previous series of articles on the official account, the model of the energy storage business was systematically sorted out. As a system integration brand business, energy storage is similar to photovoltaic system providers, and companies with brand advantages and channel resources are more competitive.

Photovoltaic solar power

As a leader in photovoltaic inverters, Sungrow is similar to Canadian Solar. Relying on its brand and channel advantages in photovoltaic downstream, "the energy storage business has achieved explosive growth from last year to this year."

In the first half of 2021, Sungrow achieved a revenue of 920 million yuan from the energy storage business, a year-on-year increase of 267%. The business covers China, North America, Europe, Japan and other regions.

Ningde era of lithium battery

As a lithium battery energy storage player, CATL relies on its brand advantage in the upstream lithium battery field and its market layout in the energy storage field in recent years, and the energy storage business has also achieved results.

In the first half of 2021, CATL achieved an energy storage system sales revenue of 4.693 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 727%, shipped several 100MWh projects, and established long-term strategic partnerships with many customers.

The brand is Tesla

Tesla's energy storage business is an important part of Musk's energy Internet strategy, but its operation is relatively independent and its brand advantage is outstanding. In recent years, its business has grown rapidly, but it is obviously affected by the upstream supply chain, and the supply is in short supply.

In the third quarter of 2021, Tesla's installed energy storage capacity was 1,295MWh, a year-on-year increase of 71%. Large-scale energy storage system Megapack is the main growth driver, with 3GWh installed in the past four quarters. Home energy storage Powerwall is obviously constrained by the supply chain. Despite multiple price increases, the order backlog is still serious, and a total of 250,000 units have been installed. Musk has previously said that there is an opportunity to sell 1 million Powerwalls next year, and the supply chain capacity is obviously not keeping up with market demand.

The energy storage industry has entered the fast lane, and for related companies that are entering or preparing to enter this field, the path is becoming more and more clear.

For new energy companies with brand or channel resources, either directly intervene like Tesla, Sungrow and Canadian Solar, or cooperate with lithium battery companies or third-party energy storage companies that need brand or channel resources to achieve complementary resources ,win-win.

For lithium battery companies, they can either directly intervene like CATL and BYD, or provide lithium batteries to other energy storage companies as 2B manufacturers, focusing on the upstream of the energy storage industry, and products, production capacity and cost performance will be the core competitiveness.

The energy storage industry, whether it is large-scale energy storage on the new energy side or home energy storage for the C-side, is essentially a system integration brand business with low gross profit margins and requires certain financial strength or financing capabilities. The requirements are higher, especially high-quality brands are more bankable, and the potential barriers to entry are relatively large. It is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to intervene, while large enterprises have obvious first-mover advantages, and eventually the market share of leading enterprises will become higher and higher.