Today (March 5) SunEdison announced that it purchased Solar Grid Storage a maker of battery storage systems intended to provide back up storage for the grid as well as buffer the power from solar energy installations. The purchase and similar moves in the industry show that solar and utilities are increasingly looking to energy storage mechanisms.
The advantages of battery backup for solar systems are many. For instance, when the clouds force a large array to drastically reduce production quickly the battery backup can assure that the system still produces power and that back up generators aren’t needed to come online.
"Storage is a perfect complement to our business model and to our wind and solar expertise," said Tim Derrick, general manager of SunEdison Advanced Solutions. "Our strategy is to increase the value of the solar and wind projects that we finance, develop, own, and operate by improving their availability and ability to interact with the grid. With this acquisition we have added the capability to pair energy storage with solar and wind projects, thereby creating more valuable projects and positioning ourselves as a leader in the rapidly growing energy storage market."
Solar Grid Storage won’t be putting batteries houses anytime soon. however. Its battery storage systems are housed in tractor trailer-sized units and deployed in installations ranging from 150 kilowatts to 10 megawatts. As such they're intended to supplement larger solar installations for wind installations. However, they could be installed on a feeder line that supports a lot of homes with solar power.
"Solar Grid Storage is unique in the storage industry in that we approach storage from a solar perspective,” said Tom Leyden, Solar Grid Storage CEO. “Understanding the core solar customer value proposition, as well as the ways that energy storage can add customer benefits and economic value to solar projects, enables us to deliver renewable energy projects that are more valuable for both customers and grid operators.”
Under the purchase SunEdison acquired the Solar Grid Storage’s energy storage project origination team and project pipeline. It also is in the process of purchasing Solar Grid Storage’s four operating projects. The purchase allows SunEdison to offer battery storage solutions to complement solar and wind projects worldwide.
”Becoming a part of SunEdison, a renewable energy market leader with a strong pipeline of customers and development projects, positions us incredibly well to accelerate our growth and integrate energy storage with renewables to help create the electricity grid of the future."
Other solar companies are also looking into energy storage systems. For instance, SolarCity has close ties to Tesla Motors, which is building the ‘GigaFactory’, a facility that will produce lithium-ion batteries for Tesla’s cars and those batteries could be used to power homes. SolarCity has said it plans to offer energy storage with its arrays in the future.Tweet