Tesla Is Not The Only Player In Energy Storage

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Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2015/04/30/tesla-is-not-the-only-player-in-energy-storage/Tesla Is Not The Only Player In Energy Storage


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Tesla Motors’ unveiling of lithium-ion battery systems for homes and businesses tonight highlights the potential of a new market in which batteries and other energy storage technologies could significantly change our century-old electricity production and delivery business.

Tesla is not the only company that’s bullish about this new market, of course. I caught up with three companies — SolarCity, AES Energy Storage and Sungevity — in the last few days to get a snapshot of the business models and projects that are emerging in this market.

I discussed SolarCity in my story yesterday about Tesla’s challenges in building an energy storage business. So here I’ll share what I’ve learned from executives from AES Energy Storage, which has been building and running big energy storage projects since 2008, and Sungevity, a solar installer that plans to offer storage with solar panels for homes and businesses later this year.


A battery system from Germany-based Sonnenbatterie, which is launching its systems in the U.S.

But first, I want to point out why energy storage is attracting more interest from tech companies and investors these days. A big reason is that energy storage is set to play an important role in a movement to disrupt the electricity generation and delivery service. If that’s truly the case, then it will be a big money-making business.

Right now most of us rely on power plant owners and utilities to generate and pipe energy to us via an often expansive network of transmission towers and power lines. The rise of large solar power plants and rooftop solar panel installations is meant to move us away from relying on the polluting coal and natural gas power plants. It also has inspired a view of a future in which we will all be producing most if not all of the electricity we need at home or work. Energy storage will play a key role in that scenario by banking excess solar electricity produced during the day for use when the solar panels aren’t cranking out power.

“With a battery system, I can consume (solar energy) whenever I want. It delivers a new level of independence,” said Peter Graf, Sungevity’s new chief product officer.

That future is a long way off for most, though. The credible forecasts I’ve seen peg solar as making up perhaps a quarter of the world’s electricity generation by 2050. Less than that in the U.S. by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Continued at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2015/04/30/tesla-is-not-the-only-player-in-energy-storage/

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