Concept by US breaks into Africa

Concept by US has the African market in its sights. Pic: Pixabay.

Concept by US has the African market in its sights. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Florida, USA-based energy storage start-up Concept by US is due to start shipping its all-in-one battery systems to Africa in May.

For the African market, the company has created a 50Hz, 220V, three-phase version of its Powerstation 247 Plus integrated battery system. It will be installing the units in Africa on behalf of an un-named African energy firm.

Units will be going into African locations ranging from high-end resorts to small off-grid communities, said Sara Kissing, vice president and chief operating officer.

The Powerstation 247 Plus is a solar, wind and diesel genset-ready edition of what Concept by US claimed was the market’s first true integrated home storage system when it launched last year.

Concept by US expects to sell 800 units this year, split almost evenly between African and America. In the US, the company’s biggest markets are California, Texas and Florida.
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The concept that could put AC on ice

Ice Energy's remarkable storage compound is colourless, odourless and so safe you can drink it. Pic: Pixabay.

Ice Energy’s remarkable storage compound is colourless, odourless and so safe you can drink it. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Thermal energy storage such as that being commercialised by Ice Energy may have a much greater impact than just doing away with the duck curve.

If sold at scale, it could also effectively put traditional air conditioning (AC) out of business in large areas of the world where AC is essential for daytime workplace and home cooling.

Ice Energy is already bracing itself for growing demand in sunny US territories where increasing distributed solar penetration is causing regulators to move away from net metering plans.

In places such as Hawaii, the shift away from net metering is depriving solar-equipped homeowners of electricity bill reductions and forcing them to look at alternative ways to save money with PV. Powering AC units is one option.

AC is one of the biggest daytime and evening energy loads of households in hot locations. With net metering, much of electricity you need to drive AC units can come for free from any excess you have poured into the grid. 
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Ice Energy’s plan to end the duck curve

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

By Jason Deign

Thermal energy storage developer Ice Energy is gearing up to increase sales of a product that has the potential to end California’s famous ‘duck curve’.

The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) has already announced plans to buy up to 100 of Ice Energy’s Ice Bear 20 residential cooling systems, which completed testing about a month ago.

The 20 ton-hour systems use energy when there is excess production, for example at night, to create ice that is then used for cooling during peak electricity consumption periods, such as evenings.

“At 9.6kW per Ice Bear 20, the order will potentially add nearly 1MW of new energy storage and peak demand reduction capacity to the SCPPA network, saving energy, improving efficiency and reducing emissions,” said Ice Energy.

The deal marks Ice Energy’s debut in the residential energy storage market, a move the company unveiled in Energy Storage Report last year, and follows growing utility interest in using Ice Bears for demand response. 
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The utility response to grid defection

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Mike Stone

Utilities are seeking new ways to respond to grid defection as the economics of solar-plus-storage make it easier for homeowners to disconnect.

A report called The Economics of Grid Defection, by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), concludes that in territories such as Hawaii off-grid solar plus storage is already economically competitive with remaining on the electricity network.

Tens of millions of customers will defect in other areas such as California and New York as solar plus storage achieves grid parity by 2030, and possibly even 2020, the RMI predicts.

And grid defection is by no means a US-only phenomenon.

In many parts of Australia and Germany, for example, the business case for residential PV and storage is still far from convincing, but that has not stopped homeowners from installing systems for a whole host of other reasons. 
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Moixa wants to install a million batteries by 2020

Moixa Energy Holdings wants its wall-mounted battery systems in a million homes by 2020. Pic: Moixa.

Moixa Energy Holdings wants its wall-mounted battery systems in a million homes by 2020. Pic: Moixa.

By Jason Deign

A UK energy storage system developer is looking to go from 650 installations today to 1m by 2020 with an aggregation-based residential business model.

London-based Moixa Energy Holdings is positioning itself as a utility’s friend by aggregating residential storage assets into a virtual power plant that provides ancillary grid services, then sharing the rewards with its customer base.

On its website, the company claims its GridShare service can earn homeowners between GBP£50 and £75 a year, or “almost 15% of the average electricity bill.”

Chief executive Simon Daniel told Energy Storage Report that 2016 was a scaling-up year for Moixa, which began piloting smart battery technology in 2012 and launched its current products two years ago.

The company is expecting to shift up to 100,000 storage systems within the next 36 months, Daniel said. And although Moixa is looking to bolster sales abroad, most of that capacity could go online in the UK. 
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Aquion cuts cost reduction target by eight years

Aquion expects to halve the cost of its batteries in as little as two years.

Aquion expects to halve the cost of its batteries in as little as two years.

By Jason Deign

Aquion Energy, the saltwater battery maker, has cut a 10-year, 50% cost reduction target by eight years within the last five months.

The company now hopes to halve the cost of its products in as little as 48 months, instead of the decade it had estimated in June this year.

“We’ll probably achieve that within two years,” confirmed chief commercial officer Tim Poor.

“We’re a new chemistry with lots of optimisation as yet to be factored in by additional innovation and improvements to the basic battery chemistry design.”

A 50% reduction would bring the wholesale price of Aquion’s Cradle-to-Cradle-certified products down to around USD$200 per kWh.
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What does the PV glut mean for energy storage?

Solar panel pricing is at an all-time low due to overcapacity in the market. Image: SunPower.

Solar panel pricing is at an all-time low due to overcapacity in the market. Image: SunPower.

By Jason Deign

Present forecasts of PV-and-battery adoption could end up significantly underestimating true adoption levels by not taking into account a massive glut in solar capacity.

Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS Technology, told Energy Storage Report there are currently “several gigawatts’” worth of new solar panels worldwide that nobody wants to buy because of excess supply.

IHS alerted to the potential for manufacturing overcapacity in the PV market back in June, and has forecast there will be a shakeout among what few manufacturers are still left from previous oversupply and consolidation periods.

For now, however, as EnergyTrend noted: “Prices across the PV supply chain have collapsed to new lows in the second half of 2016 due to plunging demand.”

What will happen to the excess PV capacity currently sitting on the shelf is unclear, but in Australia CleanTechnica earlier this month predicted it would lead to a “big solar boom.” 
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Study: distributed storage is going to take over

Residential solar could become energy storage's heartland in a few years, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Pic: SunPower.

Residential solar could become energy storage’s heartland in a few years, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Pic: SunPower.

By Jason Deign

A major study published last week not only forecasts massive energy storage growth but also predicts a seismic shift in the structure of the market.

The Global Energy Storage Forecast, 2016-24, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), predicts about 45GW and 81GWh of storage could be installed by 2024, representing an investment of USD$44bn.

The figure excludes pumped hydro capacity, of which there is currently 104GW according to 2012 US Energy Information Administration data cited by the American Energy Storage Association.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the Forecast shows worldwide behind-the-meter storage overtaking utility-scale applications between 2020 and 2021.

By 2024, predicts BNEF, 66% of all storage will be behind the meter, compared to just 16% at present.
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