Green Charge Networks & ChargePoint Partner

Green Charge Networks and ChargePoint have forged a partnership in the electric vehicle (EV) space. The two companies will combine EV charging with EV charging stations. The companies cite combining energy storage with EV charging will eliminate the high cost of demand charges caused by spikes in power usage. This challenge is oftentimes a barrier for EV charging installation.

Photo Credit: CarStations.com

Photo Credit: CarStations.com

“We are proud to partner with ChargePoint, whose mission is to bring convenient charging to every EV driver,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge Networks. “Having EV charging readily available at public locations, especially along highly traveled corridors, will enable further electrification and accelerate adoption of electric vehicles. The combination of energy storage with EV charging is important and necessary, especially in California where demand charges are some of the highest in the nation.”

The first customer of the combined technology is Redwood City, California. The city is focused on reduced its environmental footprint (they have their own Climate Action Plan) and electric vehicle use is one their solutions. Today, Redwood City has five EV charging stations combined with energy storage including two DC Fast Charging Stations that were installed in 2014.

Redwood City said these EV charging stations, located at the public library and in a public parking garage, are heavily used with an average of 8-10 sessions per day. Green Charge Networks’ said their intelligent energy storage is shaving multiple peaks per day (80 in May, 2015) caused by the EV charging stations. The energy storage is expected to save nearly $7,000 annually in demand charges at the five Redwood City locations alone. The Redwood City energy storage equipment and installation came at no cost to the City; rather, Green Charge’s financing model provides a zero down cost solution. Green Charge Networks installs, owns and maintains all of the energy storage equipment.

“By combining EV charging and energy storage to reduce consumption during peak hours, businesses can save money,” added Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. “This can significantly reduce the cost for a business to offer EV charging thereby increasing EV adoption while promoting grid stability.”

Koolbridge’s Smart Load Tech Heads to NCCETC

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) at North Carolina State University has signed a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with North Carolina-based Koolbridge Solar, Inc. NCCETC will work with Koolbridge to test their Smart Load Center technology, a smart circuit breaker panel for integrating a photovoltaic and energy storage system with a home’s or commercial building’s loads and the electric grid. In other words, when the sun is shining, the technology transfers the loads from the grid to the off-grid solar and battery system for use when the sun goes down. Koolbridge Solar’s technology was invented by Paul W. Dent, who according to Wikipedia is the co-inventor of Bluetooth wireless technology.

“Koolbridge Solar, Inc. has a new advanced inverter, Smart Load Center, and other patented and patent-pending energy management technology designed to lower the costs of distributed photovoltaic systems and increase value by allowing for easy integration of energy storage and by allowing continued operation in case of electrical outage with the local power company,” said Stephen Burnett, chairman & CEO of Koolbridge Solar. Burnett also stated his company values the support of the NCCETC and will actively seek funding to allow for more significant input from the Center.

As part of the collaboration, The Center will provide high-level policy, market, and technical guidance to Koolbridge on their products and strategies. The Center will also support Koolbridge’s pursuit of federal and state grants and other funding opportunities wherever possible and appropriate. NCCETC is known for their work in solar policy, markets, and technology as well as related codes and standards and has received two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot grants.

Professional Engineer and Renewable Energy Program Coordinator of the NCCETC, Tommy Cleveland, added,”The Center is pleased to have entered into the first MOA with Koolbridge Solar in accordance with its mission to improve North Carolina and citizens’ access to affordable and reliable solar energy.”

Yellowstone Distributed Energy Project Powers Up

Old hybrid batteries have a new home on the range. Toyota has flipped the switch on a project that is reusing 200 old battery packs from Toyota Camry hybirds. The Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park, now not only features buffalo, but an innovative distributed energy system that combines solar power generation with re-used Camry Hybrid battery packs. The result according to Toyota: reliable, sustainable, zero emission power to the ranger station and education center for the first time since it was founded in 1907. Solar panels generate the renewable electricity stored within the 208 used Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs, recovered from Toyota dealers across the United States.

Announced in June 2014, the partnership among Toyota, Indy Power Systems, Sharp USA SolarWorld, Patriot Solar, National Park Service and Yellowstone Park Foundation is an innovative effort to extend the useful life of hybrid vehicle batteries while providing sustainable power generation for one of the most remote, pristine areas in the United States.

Toyota_Yellowstone_Battery_001“Through our long-standing partnership with Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Park Foundation, Toyota has helped preserve Yellowstone for future generations,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer, Toyota North America. “Today, our relationship with Yellowstone continues, as more than 200 battery packs that once powered Toyota Camry hybrids have found a new home on the range.”

On an annual basis, the solar system will generates enough electricity to power six average U.S. households for a year, or plenty of power for the five buildings on the Ranch campus. The hybrid batteries provide 85kWh of energy storage to ensure continuous power, as the system charges and discharges. Onsite micro-hydro turbine systems, capturing energy from a neighboring stream, are scheduled to join the power mix in 2016.

The Yellowstone system is the first of its kind to use recovered hybrid vehicle batteries for commercial energy storage. Each battery pack has been disassembled and tested, and every piece that could be was repurposed. New components were also designed and built by Indy Power Systems specifically for this application, including an onboard battery management system for each battery pack. The battery management system is designed to maximize battery life and will also provide important insights into real-world performance. These insights will help Toyota design future battery performance and durability improvements.

“Toyota’s innovative response to solve a difficult problem has helped Yellowstone move closer to its goal of becoming the greenest park in the world,” added Steve Iobst, acting superintendent of Yellowstone.

Black & Veatch Commission Microgrid

Black & Veatch has commissioned its new microgrid system that provides power to the Rodman Innovation Pavilion located at the company’s Kansas World Headquarters. The microgrid uses a combination of natural gas, solar energy, geothermal and battery storage, and is the first of its kind in the state. It can operate as an independent power source or in support of the utility electric grid adding resiliency to the building and lowering energy costs. The microgrid provides enough clean energy to run the entire Innovation Pavilion.

“We are excited to launch this new technology that highlights the broad range of expertise we have within Black & Veatch,” said Steve Edwards, president and CEO. “It also demonstrates the strong level of support and interest in the design from our professionals who are working on sustainable solutions around the world.”

Black & Veatch’s system includes two natural gas-fired microturbines that deliver onsite electrical power generation. During winter months, heat is recovered from the microturbines to support heating. A geothermal heat pump system with 15 wells drilled 500 feet deep helps heat and cool the Pavilion. The microgrid system also uses battery energy storage to capture energy from generation resources and deliver electricity to the World Headquarters during times of high electric demand, such as in the summer months.

To learn more about the complex interactions of the different energy technologies, Black & Veatch guests can interact with a large screen display that shows the microgrid operations in real time. The microgrid is continually monitored by Black & Veatch’s cloud based analytics platform, ASSET360. It collects data from the system and monitors the performance of each component based on factors like solar radiation, cloud cover, outside temperature and more. It calculates how much energy is being generated and used in the building, providing the company’s energy experts with insights on ways to improve system operations.

Tesla Partners with College of Marin

During a presentation at Tesla Design Studios in Los Angeles the company unveiled a new Tesla battery that has home, commercial and utility-scale storage applications. College of Marin is the first community college to partner with Tesla to install the new battery storage products on campus.

The college received $5.3 million in government incentives to help cover the costs of site prep, installation of the lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system, and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. Concrete slabs will be installed behind the Student Services Building at the Kentfield Campus and near the Main Building at the Indian Valley Campus.

Tesla home batteryVice President Greg Nelson expects installation to begin in mid-May and last until the end of June. Once the stationary batteries are operational, Nelson estimates the cost savings to be anywhere from $100,000-$150,000 annually for the College.

“Leveraging existing relationships made this new partnership possible. Through collaboration with our friends at Marin Clean Energy, we were able to meet the program qualifications and embark on this new venture with Tesla that has been nine months in the making,” said Nelson. “This takes College of Marin to the next stage of energy conservation, moving the College forward as a leader in sustainability. I believe this program will grow, creating opportunities for other community colleges throughout the country.”

“We are proud to partner with Tesla and others in this innovative pilot project,” said Board of Trustees President Wanden Treanor. “College of Marin is honored to help prove the potential for this new energy source while at the same time generating considerable savings to the College’s energy bill. It is another step toward realizing a promise we made to the residents of Marin.”

Utilities Show Appetite for Solar & Energy Storage

A new paper released from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that North American utility companies focused on two sectors in 2014: advanced energy storage and solar. Analysts tracked 52 clean energy requests for proposals (RFPs) released in 2014, and found that solar dominated the field with more than 27 RFPs, and that Western states sought the most capacity. The white paper details several trends including:

  • Solar dominated the market, both in capacity (1.8GW) and quantity (27 RFPs). There was also a significant amount of interest (at least 12 RFPs) in energy smart technologies, particularly energy storage.
  • Western states represented the biggest region for RFPs, with 1GW being requested. The Southeast was the second-largest region in terms of capacity requested, almost all of it solar.
  • Wisconsin-based Alliant made the biggest splash in capacity sought with a single RFP.
  • Collectively, the US armed forces issued seven RFPs.
Bloomberg Energy Research Utility RFP study

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, companies issuing RFP’s.

“The data reveals particularly strong interest in energy storage,” said Will Nelson, head of analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance in North America. “Interestingly, most storage RFPs are looking for a relatively small amount of capacity, evidence that these may be initial experimental forays into a rapidly changing sector.”

Nelson said RFPs are a leading indicator for trends in the utility industry because they are solicitations issued by companies to potential vendors. The issuers of RFPs specify the products or services they are seeking. In response, bidders submit proposals, competing against each other on the basis of pricing, capabilities, and other factors. In the world of clean energy, RFPs could involve procurement for renewable electricity-generating capacity or for technologies to make the grid more flexible or resilient.

“For project sponsors and equipment vendors, RFPs are the lifeblood of their business development efforts,” added Mark Taylor, product manager for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “They also give an early but concrete glimpse into which sectors are catching the eye of the market, and about the strategic direction of utilities and other energy-consuming organizations.”

Green Charge Networks & Flextronics Partner

GreenStationGreen Charge Networks has partnered with Flextronics to provide “on-demand” manufacturing of Green Charge’s GreenStation intelligent energy storage system at its customer innovation center in Milpitas, California.  The company says California’s investor-owned utilities are seeking to deploy energy storage solutions at an accelerated rate. This includes energy storage capacity installed “behind the meter” on-site at commercial and industrial companies, a mid-tier market sector that Green Charge is pioneering with its GreenStation intelligent energy storage solution.

“Flextronics is proud to be Green Charge’s manufacturing partner, helping them to better meet the demands of their growing customer base,” said Scott Graybeal, vice president, energy at Flextronics. “Energy storage technology is rapidly evolving and we are thrilled to help companies like Green Charge with our advanced innovative solutions and platform offerings that increase their competitiveness and decrease their time to market.”

Vic Shao, CEO and Founder at Green Charge Networks added, “Green Charge has developed a leading-edge intelligent energy storage solution that not only benefits our customers, but helps pave the way towards a sustainable electric grid infrastructure of the future. Partnering with Flextronics, we’re thrilled to contribute to the revitalization of manufacturing in the U.S.”

SolarReserve Flips the Switch on South African Solar Project

Jasper Solar Power ProjectSolarReserve has flipped the switch on what they call the largest solar project in South Africa. The 96 MW Jasper solar power project completed construction two months early and is producing at full capacity. The solar farm is located in South Africa’s Northern Cape in a solar park that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project which came online in May, and the proposed 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant featuring SolarReserve’s CSP technology with integrated energy storage.

As part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the project will set aside a percentage of total project revenues for Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development for the benefit of the local communities.

“In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum and bringing value to South Africa through collaboration on further projects, including our upcoming CSP projects that will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and non-intermittent electricity, day and night.”

With over 325,000 PV modules, the Jasper Project will deliver 180,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually for South Africa residents – enough to power up to 80,000 households through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company. Selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in the second round of bids under the REIPPPP, the project also marked Google’s first renewable energy investment in Africa.

Green Charge Networks Closes $56M Capital Raise

Green Charge Networks has closed a $56 million capital raise. K Road DG is providing funding and strategic management services to the company to enable them to accelerate deployment of GreenStation, under Green Charge’s Power Efficiency Agreement (PEASM). According to the company, the funding round is the largest amount of capital raised by any company in the intelligent energy storage space.

Green Charge offers an energy storage product that they say is proven to reduce power demand charges for commercial and industrial customers on their monthly utility bills. Green Charge’s GreenStation has been successfully installed by 7-Eleven, Walgreens, UPS, school campuses, and cities across New York and California. Now with the PEASM, Green Charge will own and operate energy storage assets deployed at customer sites, while providing the customer with a powerful combination of utility bill savings, zero capital and maintenance costs, and mitigated performance risk.

GCN_Stacked_Logo“Power efficiency is the next frontier in energy savings,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge. “We plan to leverage the alliance and financing from K Road DG to scale our company’s deployments and continue our customer-centric innovations.”

Green Charge Network explains that similar to a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the PEASM shifts the performance burden onto Green Charge as the asset owner instead of the customer. This type of financing model was key to spreading distributed solar around the globe, but has not been available in the energy storage market until now. This financing allows Green Charge to serve the broadest cross-section of the market.

“We are excited to enter into this strategic alliance and to provide growth capital that will drive deployment of Green Charge’s innovative technology to C&I customers on a commercial scale,” added William Kriegel, CEO of K Road DG. “K Road DG believes that Green Charge’s technology solutions respond directly to a global demand for intelligent energy storage.”

Market research firm IHS predicts that the energy storage market is expected to grow to an annual installation rate of over 40 GW by 2022 — from only 0.34 GW in 2012 and 2013.

CGI America Launches Feed-Out Program

The world is about to see the first market-based, fixed-price funding program for solar and renewable technologies through a Feed-Out Program. The program, the brain-child of the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) and Demeter Power Group, has a goal of helping modernize the nation’s power grid with distributed energy.

Clinton Global Initiative logo“The Feed-Out Program will bring together independent power producers and financiers to enable the lowest-cost, fixed-price offering for renewable energy,” said Michael Wallander, Demeter Power Group founder and president. “But unlike other similar ‘feed-in-tariff’ programs, the energy will be used on the customer-side of the meter.”

According to CGI, $1 trillion a year – a total of $36 trillion – is needed for investment in sustainable energy infrastructure to successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2050. The Program will help tackle this challenge focusing primarily on funding for solar energy while also enabling cost-effective investment in energy storage, fuel cells and electrical vehicle car charging stations.

Yann Brandt, Demeter Co-Founder and EVP of Development noted, “What retail tenant or business owner would not want to save money on their energy bills while offering customers and employees the ability to shade their cars and power up with solar energy? We enable funding for solar-powered carports with electric vehicle charging stations at a net-negative cost to the customer.”

Demeter Power Group logoDemeter is contributing its finance mechanism – PACE3P – to help overcome credit-related challenges that have prevented scalable finance programs in the past. Demeter explained that PACE3P ties services fees to the buildings where the energy is used through a voluntary assessment on property tax bills.

Initially the Program will make financing available to commercial properties located in Northern California communities participating in the California FIRST property assessed clean energy (PACE) Program offered through the California Statewide Community Development Authority. Interested participants must register with Demeter to participate in the platform, which is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2015.