Six energy storage companies to watch out for in 2018

Six energy storage companies to watch out for in 2018

By Gopi Kuppuraj

Earlier this year, Tesla made news for unveiling the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery grid in Australia and its plan to install solar Powerwall 2 batteries in 50,000 homes across South Australia. As battery costs are coming down, it has created opportunities for energy storage to become a booming market as companies launch new products that allow people to produce and consume more energy on-site. While Tesla is a well-known player in the area of battery storage technology, here are some other renewable energy companies and their technologies that could potentially disrupt this industry.

1. Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, is developing a 2.5 kW-hr energy storage system that can be increased to a 20 kW-hr system that is more appropriate for household needs. This home battery system is set to compete with Tesla in terms of pricing and efficiency. In addition to providing a backup power source if the grid goes down, it can also minimize energy costs. For instance, customers can use batteries to store excess solar energy produced by the system during the day and then consume it during periods of peak energy usage in the evening and at night, when electricity rates are typically higher.

2. LG Chem

LG Electronics, a household name in appliances and consumer electronics, also offers products in the energy storage space. LG’s Energy Storage System (ESS) series include two high-voltage battery systems (RESU7H and RESU10H), along with three low-voltage battery systems (RESU3.3, RESU6.5, and RESU10). The high-voltage models also provide a variety of inverters that allow consumers to convert solar DC into usable AC.

3. Eos Energy Storage

Eos Energy Storage aims to make energy storage solutions a very attractive value proposition to customers.  The company’s flagship product, Eos Aurora, is a low-cost DC battery system designed specifically to meet the requirements of grid-scale energy storage. Targeting industrial consumers, the system has 4 hours of continuous discharge capability and it can be scaled and configured to reduce cost for utilities.

4. Sonnen

The sonnenBatterie eco utilizes lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology developed in Germany and claims it is “one of the most reliable, safe, and long-lasting lithium battery technologies currently available in the market.” In addition to the battery modules, the energy storage system comprises an inverter, an energy manager, power measurement technology, and software to operate the system. According to the company, the product features a power detection system that will sense outages in real-time and automatically switch over to battery power. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of the German-based company’s revenue comes from its German operations. Recently, Sonnen opened a factory in Atlanta to begin production for the US market.

5. Nissan

Automaker Nissan offers rechargeable battery solutions, called xStorage, which holds 4.2 kWh of energy. The company began selling the xStorage in the UK, where Tesla and Mercedes-Benz also sell their battery options. Nissan plans to differentiate from its competitors as a sustainable battery provider by using old battery cells in the xStorage units. According to the company, xStorage’s capability of controlling when to take energy from the grid and of reducing the peak of consumption helps consumers reduce their cost of power.

6. Sunverge

Sunverge’s One and Infinity batteries provide anywhere from 7.7 kWh to 19.4 kWh of energy storage. The system includes a corresponding smartphone app so consumers can monitor their solar electricity storage and see electric grid costs at different times. The cost of a Sunverge unit can vary from $8,000 and $20,000, depending on the size. For the third year in a row, the company made the  Global Cleantech 100 list, a “comprehensive list of private companies with the highest potential to make significant market impact within a 5 to 10-year time frame.”

What’s next?

Among the many renewable technologies available for energy storage, batteries have experienced the most significant growth in recent years and are receiving the most attention. An increasing number of players representing diverse backgrounds including utilities, automakers, battery manufacturers, and renewable project developers are driving the market and competition. The potential synergy is substantial as the expanded use of renewables for transport and thermal applications can balance grid power around other solutions by 2020.

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