The Tesvolt founders identified the need for powerful energy storage systems in commerce and agriculture early on. They developed their first prototype quite literally in a garage. The company now carries out series production in Luther’s Wittenberg in Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial energy storage systems. Customers around the world use these patented energy storage systems made in Saxony-Anhalt. Tesvolt is one of the world market leaders in its niche and is testament to the fact that the Hidden Champions in this region are well positioned for future global competition and realizing their visions.
“Our aim is to bring affordable, clean energy to every corner of the world. Even to places where people have no access to the power grid.” With this vision in mind, the founders of Tesvolt, Daniel Hannemann and Simon Schandert, got down to business in 2014. It is the basis for everything that has developed at the site in Luther’s Wittenberg – which is quite a lot. Their success story resembles the famous accounts of garage startups.
The two men from Wittenberg were committed to renewable energy right from the early days – long before they won renown. They gained experience in the solar sector, where they saw that the energy storage systems available on the market were constantly reaching their limit. While photovoltaic systems got bigger and bigger, the storage systems lagged behind. Computer scientist Hannemann and industrial engineer Schandert decided to come up with a solution themselves. “We realized that we could do better,” says Hannemann.
“You have to have access to good conditions.”
They had a clear aim: the company was to develop and produce battery systems that could store electricity from renewable energy sources as efficiently as possible. The founders focused on high-capacity storage systems for commerce and industry because those areas consume the most energy. The pair made a deliberate decision to lay the foundations for the company in Saxony-Anhalt. “Many people didn’t understand why, but we wanted to realize our vision right here where we grew up,” says Schandert. “You just have to be somewhere where you have the best chance of solving problems and where you have access to good conditions. If you look closely, you can see that Saxony-Anhalt is a highly promising choice for company location projects.” The advantages of their decision included the ability to acquire suitable industrial sites at land value, which are more affordable compared to metropolitan regions. The area also has a well-developed transportation network and is situated in the middle of Germany and Europe, both of which ensure access to markets and suppliers. On top of that, the managing directors have close ties to the local area. “We can contribute to economic strength and demand here in Wittenberg – that’s also important to us,” says Hannemann.
Wittenberg: home to Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery storage systems
In the town where the renowned reformer Martin Luther once lived, the young entrepreneurs devised their own battery control technology to make the energy storage systems durable and economical. It gives the systems an outstandingly high overall system efficiency of up to 92% and a long life span of up to 30 years. This technology gave Tesvolt a selling point that set it apart. The award-winning battery system helps ensure that commercial and industry storage systems pay off within just a few years. Tesvolt’s battery storage systems and optimized control system soon gained attention. In the past few years, the company has received multiple awards. Last summer, it shot to the top when it was made one of the winners of the Top 100 competition (a leading innovation competition for German medium-sized businesses), coming away with the Top Innovator 2020 prize. The managing directors say that they see this as an incentive to keep driving the energy transition. The conditions for this have long been in place. Since the beginning of 2020, Tesvolt has been efficiently manufacturing lithium-ion storage systems in Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery storage systems at its site in Wittenberg, where the systems are then shipped onward around the world. The company has so far completed over 1,500 storage projects, putting its vision into practice. These products made in Wittenberg are in use across the whole world for green, affordable and constant energy supply.
Energy storage systems from Saxony-Anhalt are in use in Patagonia National Park
For example, Tesvolt supplied large energy storage containers for Europe’s largest electric car charging station at the Hilden highway junction in North Rhine-Westphalia, where electric vehicles can fill up with green electricity. In Rwanda, battery current in remote areas is powering one of the largest water pump projects in the world. Tesvolt’s storage systems ensure that an irrigation system has a constant supply of electricity so that farmers can carry out their work. In Patagonia National Park in Chile, which is far away from the public power grid, the energy storage systems from Saxony-Anhalt are combined with a run-of-river hydroelectric plant and a photovoltaic system to supply facilities with electricity from renewable sources. Up until now, the Park’s facilities were supplied with electricity produced by diesel generators, which was expensive and environmentally damaging. Tesvolt products are in use in many different places for many different purposes. Be it at a holiday resort on the coast of Belize in Central America, at a livestock farm in Brüggen on the Dutch border or on a housing estate in the Swiss canton of Aargau, it’s always about new, innovative and environmentally friendly energy supply. The medium-sized business, which has over 80 employees at its headquarters in Wittenberg and its branches in Berlin, Seoul in South Korea and Perth in Australia, is on course for growth. The managing directors explain that they plan to release a new energy storage system onto the market at the end of next year that will boast even more technological innovations. “If Tesvolt’s success story continues along the same path, it won’t be just the new storage system that will cause a stir,” they say.
Author: Manuela Bock/IMG Saxony-Anhalt
In many industries, they belong to the innovation drivers in Europe and they are regarded as the originators of Germany's export success. As small to medium-sized companies, they often bring their niche applications to the world market faster than large companies, mostly resulting from in-house research. This self-developed success is one of their secrets.