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SolarEdge to acquire South Korean battery supplier Kokam for $88M

SolarEdge Technologies Inc. will purchase approximately 75% of South Korean lithium-ion battery maker and energy storage project developer Kokam Co. Ltd., for $88 million, the companies announced Oct. 11. SolarEdge plans to acquire Kokam's remaining shares listed on South Korea's over-the-counter exchange.

The announcement comes as SolarEdge expands its diversified portfolio of smart grid technologies, including power electronics for solar electric systems, battery storage and electric-vehicle charging stations.

"We see more and more storage coming," SolarEdge co-founder Lior Handelsman said in a recent interview. In May, the Israel-headquartered, Nasdaq-listed company launched cloud-based grid services to aggregate distributed solar and storage into virtual power plants. "Storage is becoming a much more popular option and we want to aggregate thousands of systems to the networks."

The deal gives SolarEdge a potential strategic advantage since Kokam is well positioned to capitalize on South Korea's booming market for energy storage, which analysts say is creating headaches for U.S. system suppliers amid a shortage of battery storage systems.

"The acquisition of Kokam will enable us to grow our offering, adding already proven battery storage to our product portfolio," SolarEdge CEO Guy Sella said in a news release. The combination of the two companies represents "a further step toward making solar installations smarter and more beneficial," he said.