Sunlight Group grows battery production capacity
Sunlight Group Energy Storage Systems (Sunlight Group), a technology company specialising in industrial mobility and energy storage systems, is expanding its lead-acid production capacity to 9GWh per year. Investments amount to 100m euros and ramp-up the company’s lead-acid output to establish Sunlight as what is believed to be the largest producer of lead-acid motive power batteries in the world.
The investment includes adding infrastructure to Sunlight Group’s industrial manufacturing complex in Xanthi, north eastern Greece – increasing the plant’s lead-acid cell production facility to over 50,000sqm. This includes establishing three autonomously operating production units in three separate buildings, which will boost operational efficiency, while ensuring business continuity and quality standards.
Furthermore, the company will continue transforming the Xanthi complex into a ‘smart’ factory, implementing Industry 4.0 technologies (automation, robotics, AI, Machine Learning, IoT) across the production process – this work began in March 2022. The first phase will be concluded by November 2022 and offer the Sunlight Group a total running capacity of approximately 6GWh on an annualised basis. The second phase of installation is planned between February and November 2023 and will provide the capacity to produce 9GWh of motive power lead-acid batteries annually.
Alongside production growth in Xanthi, Greece, the company has already expanded the capacity of its formation and assembly facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. It’s currently at 1.2GWh of complete lead-acid batteries per year, with the goal to reach 2GWh. In addition, relevant production extensions are well underway in the Sunlight European Battery Assembly (SEBA) facility in Verona, Italy, to increase the annual output of assembled complete batteries to 4.5GWh by January 2023. This will render SEBA the largest assembly facility of its kind in the world.
Lampros Bisalas, CEO of Sunlight Group, said, “By 2030 the total market requirements in the motive power sector will be divided between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, in a market which is forecast to be double what it is today. To address existing and future market needs, Sunlight Group combines investments in lead with respective ones in lithium technology. Indeed, the company is involved in very exciting and promising lithium projects; yet, as a technology agnostic company, we understand that our customers – including major global OEMs – need a solid supplier that can provide them with the right mix of products, at the right cost and quality. In a market which will inevitably consolidate, we strive to be in a strong position and drive changes.”
Sunlight Group’s efforts to increase lead-acid capacity are supported by ongoing investments to more than double the annual production capacity of the company’s recycling plant. The facility supplies manufacturing with over 50% of own needs in lead and is expected to more than double production by 2025, from 45,000tn to 100,000tn. In addition, the acquisition of subsidiaries specializing in the manufacturing of components (Technoform) and battery chargers (PBM) further integrates the company’s vertical production.