VC-funded Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) has partnered with SunEdison to install and finance 50 megawatts of building-sited energy storage under a 10-year capacity contract with Southern California Edison.

Late last year, AMS emerged from stealth mode with a 50-megawatt contract to provide utility-scale, behind-the-meter battery storage across the West Los Angeles Basin area for Southern California Edison as part of SCE’s 2013 Local Capacity Requirement solicitation. 

As Jeff St. John reported, AMS isn’t signing up customers for behind-the-meter batteries and then looking for ways to sell their capabilities to the utility. Instead, it’s working with SCE from the get-go to identify the optimal amount of load-shifting it could use at local stress points, like the Santiago and Johanna substations in the area where it’s building its first hybrid-electric installation.

“Edison did a remarkable job learning how to fit these new technologies into this process,” AMS CEO Susan Kennedy said in a recent interview, adding, “We look at where the utility needs resources -- where there’s a lot of photovoltaic, where there’s over-generation potential, wherever the distribution system is stressed."

SunEdison and AMS will jointly do the development, SunEdison will provide construction financing and TerraForm is expected to provide permanent financing. According to a release, the AMS storage assets are potentially the first to be acquired by SunEdison's YieldCo, TerraForm Power.

Carlos Domenech, TerraForm Power’s CEO, said in a release, “TerraForm Power anticipates acquiring these systems once operational, making them the first storage projects in our fleet. These systems fit well with our contracted clean power generation fleet, as they have long-term capacity contracts with SCE, a leading utility and customer with a strong balance sheet and credit rating.”

"Because each installation is controlled by the utility [they give AMS a dispatch order and the installations are then dispatched as a fleet], it can be put to use for a variety of grid purposes," Kennedy noted. “Whether it’s for local capacity, up and down regulation, ramping, where it can help them reduce distribution upgrades -- we design the system for what the utility needs.” The host customer, in turn, gets a no-hassle, cost-free upgrade to its energy profile, with batteries that are usually discharging during the same afternoon hours that coincide with peaks in commercial building energy use, she said.

AMS will develop and manage the 200 megawatt-hour battery storage fleet while operating each project as an LLC with “expected ROIs on a per-project basis."

The utility aims to use the energy storage resources in these hybrid-electric buildings to help offset the power once produced by the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The first 10-megawatt fleet of energy storage systems "is expected to begin commercial operation in 2016 in Irvine, California."

Yesterday, Stephen Lacey reported on Advanced Microgrid Solutions' big funding round. Three months after raising $8.8 million, Advanced Microgrid Solutions is set to close its series A round this week with a total raise of $18 million. The round was led by DBL Investors and included Arnold Schwarzenegger. Engie SA, a large French electricity and gas provider, is rumored to also be involved.

Listen to an interview with Nancy Pfund of DBL Investors on The Energy Gang to hear her thoughts about investing in cleantech companies: