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Energy Storage – Thinking outside the “box”

13th April 2021

Where it all began.

Soltaro have been part of the Energy Storage market for over 6 years. The market has evolved with a variety of energy storage products to fill specific requirements.  Made popular by Elon Musk and his PowerWall, an emerging market accelerated into the spotlight.  Every solar inverter & battery manufacturer rushed to be a part of this energy storage boom.  In response, a very common trend in the home storage space is “box branding”.  This is where a brand takes existing components or even whole product and integrates them into a box. They then brand it as their own unique storage solution.  

Soltaro looked at this as an option in the early days of our product development. The R&D cost savings would have been huge! However, we quickly realised if we went down this path we would be literally “boxing” ourselves into a corner.  Innovation is driven by thinking outside the box, so why would we want to constrain ourselves within one?  

Month after month, new energy ­­storage systems entered the market with pre-existing product. These were made up with product from two to three different manufactures and technology. That technology was often up to 5 years old.  Updates to these products often included swapping out slightly updated or cheaper modules as the market demand progressed.  Some box branders have used over 4 different battery modules within 2 years of their product cycle.  Same story with inverter technology. 

What do you want in an energy system?

The development of our own products started from the ground up. We engaged with the storage market and asked “What do you want in an energy storage system?”  We took in hundreds of suggestions across the solar and storage sector. Starting work on developing an energy storage platform to meet the demands of now and the future. Our goal? To exceed expectations for the end user.  All the details considered, tested and implemented. Our end product was a true All-In-One Energy Storage System.    

Attempted by many and successfully achieved by few. We built the fully integrated Soltaro All-in-One and launched it to our home market of Australia in 2018. It was launched soon after to Europe & South Africa.  Inverter, Battery Management and cell packs all designed, developed and manufactured in harmony (End-to-End).  This gave us a product that was not limited to the manufacturers that produce pre-fabricated running components.  We achieved what we set out to. Producing a beautiful product that is powerful, usable, expandable & adaptable.  The chains cast off, we were free to take the All-in-One wherever the market & customers wanted to go.

Like any new product to market there were some teething issues. As it was our own design we could rapidly identify and correct these in a few days. No waiting for months whilst another manufacturers R&D department decide to address the issue.  The hardest part was informing the market what our system was fully capable of. There were just so many key features and unique points to fit on a specification sheet.  On paper it was too good to be true, and we faced a lot of early scepticism and hesitation.  Questions were raised about our All-in-One. “How could a product that looks so good, be so compact and this powerful?” and “Who’s inverters and batteries are you using?”.  The market, especially our home market of Australia, simply couldn’t believe we’d designed and manufactured our own product.  

Early adopters, we thank you.

Early adopters of our system truly understood what we had set out to achieve. They’d experienced first-hand how flexible and easy our system was to sell and install.  For those that took the gamble on us, we will always thank you. Paid in return by helping win multi-million dollar projects over more established brands. We provided solutions that others couldn’t or wouldn’t and all with the easiest installation of any storage system to this day. Our technical ‘ground support’ evolved to become our Authorised Partner network.  Our partners had a product that they were confident to promote and install.

Now, over three years old, our first Generation All-in-One still exceeds specifications of products launched in 2020.  However, we always knew we could do better. In late 2019 we started development for All-in-One 2 “AIO2”.  Raising the bar even higher and open to even more possibilities. We wanted to show the energy storage market what could be achieved.  Utilising the latest and greatest base components, like modularised IGBT. Employing more robust parts that are available and have time proven reliability.  Developing a new software platform to support advanced operations and home integration.  We focussed on making All-in-One 2 smaller, more powerful and even easier to install and commission.  

So, armed with all the feedback and experience from our first generation All-in-One. We went back to the drawing board and launched the AIO2 in early 2021. By raising the bar again, we can’t wait to see what you will do with your AIO2. 

When it looks like a box, think outside!   Click here to see our all new AIO2.

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