Home » “We’re producing the tools for affordable energy”: Volts UAE’s Andrey Kozhevin talks energy storage solutions

“We’re producing the tools for affordable energy”: Volts UAE’s Andrey Kozhevin talks energy storage solutions

by Madaline Dunn

Energy transition efforts have ramped up in the MENA in recent years, with solar taking the spotlight and a wave of mega projects.

Awareness of the importance of going green is also growing among consumers as the climate crisis intensifies and following two successive COPs in the region.

In fact, WEF research shows that 70 per cent of consumers have observed the impacts of climate change, and nearly half are concerned about it. 

The next step is turning awareness into action, and when it comes to the solar switch, the UAE is taking the lead regionally. Indeed, according to the Energy Institute, the country ranks among the top globally in terms of per capita solar energy consumption.

However, to keep energy flowing, even when the sun isn’t shining, energy storage is crucial.

Enter Volts UAE, an Abu Dhabi-based smart energy storage system provider and the first of its kind in the UAE.

A B2C company, Volts is on a mission to not only uplift consumer use of renewable energy but also educate them on how to live more sustainably. 

ESG Mena spoke to Andrey Kozhevin, Managing Partner of Volts UAE, to learn more about the company and its efforts to drive change in the energy space. 

Bringing energy storage into the home

Volts UAE began operations in the UAE back in 2019 after being invited to join The Catalyst, a sustainability-focused start-up technology accelerator and joint venture between BP and Masdar.

Now headquartered in Masdar City, the storage solutions company provides customisable, customer-centric clean technology.

Kozhevin shared that its energy storage solution has been tested with grid, solar and wind power and offers storage configurations ranging from 4kWh to 12kWh in a single unit. 

Multiple units can also be connected to create a system with a capacity of up to 108kWh.

To date, the company has successfully installed more than 500 energy storage systems and offers solar panels in conjunction with its energy storage.

Driving consumer awareness and overcoming barriers to entry

Providing up to 24 hours of operation, Volts’ storage solution is accompanied by a mobile application that allows users to manage and monitor how and when they use energy.

Kozhevin explained that the app also integrates gamification. Gamification brings game elements into non-game contexts to spark real-world behavioural change and is increasingly being used to promote environmental awareness and climate-friendly behaviour. 

Indeed, tying into the company’s mission to drive environmental awareness amongst consumers, Kozhevin said this app element enables consumers to gain a better understanding of the environmental impact of using renewables. 

“The latest update introduces “Counting Virtually Planted Trees.” Users can observe the environmental benefits of energy storage usage, with the app planting trees based on emissions offset. Future updates include a ‘green rating,’ where users earn points for environmentally friendly actions,” said Kozhevin.

More broadly, public awareness about climate change and its effects is on the rise, including in the UAE, where residents have been found to be highly receptive to learning more about living sustainably.

Here, Kozhevin said that public awareness of climate change in the UAE also extends to the solutions to combat it: “Through online surveys and social media analysis, I have observed a growing awareness of solar and energy storage benefits in the UAE.”

That being said, Kozhevin noted that, when it comes to consumer awareness and perception of solar and energy storage, there are still a number of hurdles to overcome for greater adoption. This includes high upfront costs and limited accessible information, he said.

“Cost remains a significant concern,” commented Kozhevin, adding: “Customers often lack technical knowledge and seek information about government incentives and return on investment primarily online.”

On the different potential strategies aimed at overcoming these barriers to entry, Kozhevin highlighted the role of targeted online ad campaigns, informative content marketing, SEO for increased visibility, and potential partnerships with UAE-based influencers.

Speaking about the mission driving the energy storage solutions company, Kozhevin said: “We are educating the people on how you can be more sustainable. Emirates has the sustainable strategy, but we’re producing the tools for being sustainable in the future,” adding: “We’re producing the tools for affordable energy for the people.”

Demand for these tools is only growing, too, with a burgeoning residential energy storage market. 

Indeed, research shows that residential batteries are now the largest source of storage demand in the EMEA region, and while the company’s main focus is the UAE and the wider MENA region, it is targeting sales of energy storage worldwide.

At the beginning of the year, for example, it expanded its geographical footprint by supplying a batch of energy storage systems in Lagos, Nigeria, via METSCO Company.

Battery innovation 

Battery innovation is no doubt a hot topic right now, and while the company currently uses lithium-ion batteries, Kozhevin explained that VOLTS is conducting R&D to explore other options.

“We have a partnership with a local and European institute to create the new chemistry for our batteries,” said Kozhevin. 

Indeed, since lithium-ion batteries aren’t designed for extreme weather, Kozhevin said the company’s main focus is on creating batteries that are.

“We are planning to transition to sodium-ion batteries or an equivalent designed for extreme temperatures,” explained Kozhevin. 

To scale impact further, Volts is also collaborating with industry heavyweight Schneider Electric. 

Through this partnership, the energy storage solutions provider will set up a giga industrial facility to produce industrial and home energy storage systems and battery cells in Abu Dhabi.

The giga factory is currently in the works and is planned to launch in 2026 – set to be the first in the UAE.

Looking at the current landscape, Kozhevin highlighted the growing number of giga factories around the world, and while citing electric vehicles as the main driver, Kozhevin said he expects energy storage to be a “big piece of the market.”

“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Kozhevin.

By Madaline Dunn, Lead Journalist, ESG Mena

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