Adara adopts kit approach, seeks cash

Adara Power (then JuiceBox) cuts the ribbon on its first sale in Nevada. Pic: Adara Power.

Adara Power (then JuiceBox) cuts the ribbon on its first sale in Nevada. Pic: Adara Power.

By Jason Deign

Adara Power is looking for up to USD$10m in Series A funding after launching a new version of its residential battery product this month.

Neil Maguire, chief executive, told Energy Storage Report that the four-year-old Californian firm formerly known as JuiceBox was hoping to complete financing of at least $7m this year. “We are looking for investors,” he confirmed.

“We’ve continued to fund the company through friends and family and angel investors, and really kept things very tight. [Now] we are looking to grow the sales team and customer support team, and field apps.”

The company is hoping to boost sales this year after stripping down its product to resemble a do-it-yourself kit, a move that allows it to cut the price of its systems and make them more attractive to the commercial market.

“Our first-generation product works great,” Maguire said. “Every system that we’ve installed is still online. Customers are happy with the product. It’s a real success for us. But it is a relatively expensive product.” 

A premium product for peak shifting

Maguire said Adara’s original 5.5kW, 8.6kWh lithium-ion storage system had been commercialised in the US as a premium product for peak shifting and backup power, boasting an 8-millisecond switchover in the event of a blackout.

Last year the company also claimed points for ease of installation, since the battery system would automatically configure the inverter on connection. Even today, no special lifting equipment is required for installation.

One of the factors that nudged Adara into reviewing its products is that its battery supplier, LG Chem, now offers a residential product of its own that has features such as a built-in management system and circuit breaker.

“We don’t need to now build our custom rack, do sub-assembly in our warehouse and have all these additional shipping costs,” said Maguire. “We’re able to take advantage of distribution.”

As a result, Adara has stripped back its offering so the batteries come direct from LG Chem in Korea (the supplier is also planning production in Michigan, USA, Maguire said). 

Adara just ships its control systems

Pretty much the same happens with the system’s Schneider inverter. Adara now just ships its control systems.

What arrives at the customer’s door is “a pre-validated kit,” according to Maguire, which takes around a day for a two-person team to assemble.

“When you plug the battery and the inverter into the control box, we check and verify the model number and the firmware version on those devices and then we write the parameters to set up the inverter. It’s still very much plug and play.”

This approach allows Adara to price a 10kWh system at $7,400, including a 30% US Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). A 20kWh system meanwhile comes in at $10,000 after the ITC.

For comparison, last year customers were paying around $12,000, including ITC, for a fully integrated 8.9kWh system.   

Still focusing purely on the US market

Although Adara is for the time being still focusing purely on the US market, Maguire confirmed the company had international aspirations. This was partly the reason for its name change last year.

“JuiceBox was a cute name and had some fans, but it wasn’t very international,” Maguire said. “Adhara is one of the brightest stars in the night sky… and we’re saving up solar energy for use at night.”

Moving to a kit-assembly model could help with international expansion, he said, in freeing up the company from having to send 225kg integrated systems around the world. “We simply send the control box there,” he said.

“The product design really facilitates moving into international markets, but the company focus right now is North America.”

So far, Adara has sold systems across 13 US states via a network of around 125 solar installers. This year the company expects to sell “hundreds” of the new systems, which were unveiled two weeks ago. 

Adapted to work with commercial-scale plants

That should amount to about 4MWh of residential storage, up from 1MWh sold so far. At the same time, the control system has been adapted to work with commercial-scale battery plants of up to 500kW and 1.3MWh.

Adara expects commercial sales, typically of 250kW, 660kWh systems, to make up a significant portion of its revenues in the future.

“We’re actively closing deals,” said Maguire, with the California Self-Generation Incentive Program, which was recently doubled in size, expected to speed up adoption.

Greg Maguire, vice president of sales and marketing, said Adara was currently pursuing around 30 bids for commercial systems, each valued at around $500,000.

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