Grid energy storage is becoming a tangible business opportunity for cleantech companies and automakers these days – it's all that's left of Coda, for example, and Toyota is open to the opportunities. Sun-power provider SolarCity has entered the market with DemandLogic, a smart energy storage system designed to deal with what it calls two major pain points for businesses: rising utility demand charges and increasing grid outages. SolarCity is using Tesla Motors' advanced battery technology to deliver the stored energy. Tesla's role in DemandLogic is providing the software that manages the discharge of stored energy. Of course, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also Chairman of SolarCity and provided financing for the company many years ago. We first heard about the two companies working together on energy storage systems last year.
SolarCity will sell its storage systems through 10-year service agreements that require monthly payments but no upfront costs. DemandLogic will initially be available in California (where Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison do business), areas of Massachusetts covered by NSTAR and areas of Connecticut served by Connecticut Light & Power. SolarCity has also been interested in EV charging for many years.
SolarCity DemandLogic™ integrates intelligent management software and Tesla battery technology to reduce businesses' peak demand, provide backup power during outages and potentially save thousands on energy costs
SAN MATEO, Calif., Dec. 4, 2013-SolarCity® (Nasdaq: SCTY) has unveiled a smart energy storage system to address two major pain points for business: rising utility demand charges and increasing grid outages. SolarCity DemandLogic™ can allow businesses to reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to reduce peak demand, and can also provide backup power during grid outages. Developed with advanced battery technology from Tesla, SolarCity DemandLogic storage includes learning software that automates the discharge of stored energy to optimize utility charge savings for customers.
"Utilities have altered their rate structures such that demand charges are rising faster than overall energy rates, and businesses are bearing the bulk of those increases," said Peter Rive, SolarCity's chief technology officer and chief operations officer. "Time is money, but so are control and predictability. Our storage systems can give businesses the tools to address all three-delivering immediate savings, protection against escalating demand charges and optional, grid-independent backup power in case of outages."
SolarCity storage systems are available to new solar power customers through 10-year service agreements including monthly payments, with no upfront cost required. SolarCity will customize the system size to make it possible for businesses to save money immediately by saving more on energy costs than they spend for the storage service. Unlike load shifting approaches to demand management, this product requires no change in operations for the business and is fully automated. SolarCity DemandLogic can also power IT functions, security systems, cash registers and other critical business systems during power outages. SolarCity analyzes each organization's energy usage to design a storage system that can offset peak load and support high priority backup functions.
"We are thrilled to leverage Tesla's technology leadership in energy storage systems, charging and power electronics to enable this exciting SolarCity launch," said Tesla CTO and co-founder JB Straubel. "The economics and scale that Tesla has achieved in the automotive market now make stationary energy storage more cost effective and reliable than it has ever been in the past. We expect this market to grow very rapidly now that we have crossed this economic threshold."
The utility grid is aging and outages are increasing. The U.S. experienced 679 major weather-related power outages between 2003 – 2012, including 7 of the 10 costliest storms in American history. At the same time, while overall electricity usage in the U.S. has increased only modestly since 2001-approximately 10 percent according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration-utility revenues have increased more than 50 percent in the same time period.*
Utilities have increased revenues faster than electricity usage in part by creating "demand charges" for businesses that have increased their share of the utilities' cost burden. Some utilities are basing rates less on the overall amount of electricity consumed, and more on "peak demand", i.e. the maximum amount of electricity used at a specific point in time. Solar power can significantly offset the overall amount of electricity used by organizations, but if an organization's "peak" electricity demand is still high during the day-in the late afternoon, for example-the organization can be hit with high demand charges. SolarCity's commercial storage system regulates the amount of electricity that organizations need from the grid during "peak" periods, reducing exposure to exorbitant demand charges.
SolarCity storage systems will initially be available in areas of California serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, areas of Massachusetts serviced by NSTAR, and areas of Connecticut served by Connecticut Light & Power. For questions or additional information about the program, business owners should contact SolarCity directly at 888-SOL-CITY or 888-765-2489, visit www.solarcity.com/demandlogic or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation.
This release contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements regarding future cost savings delivered by energy storage, future electricity offsets and others. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved, if at all. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward looking statements. You should read the section entitled "Risk Factors" in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which identifies certain of these and additional risks and uncertainties. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
*Data Source: Energy Information Administration, 2012
SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company offers solar power, energy efficiency and electric vehicle services, and makes clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 14 states and signs a new customer every five minutes. Visit the company online at www.solarcity.com and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.