California real estate firm Irvine Company announced it will deploy energy storage from Advanced Microgrid Solutions across its portfolio.
The first phase will include up to 24 office buildings in Irvine that will be equipped with Tesla Powerpacks paired with AMS’ advanced energy management system. The batteries will shave peak energy while also providing Southern California Edison with up to 10 megawatts of capacity.
Each battery system will take up an area equivalent to about five parking spaces. The financing and installation of the first round of energy storage systems will come from SunEdison.
AMS wants to turn buildings into dynamic energy storage units managed by utilities that can respond to grid needs and get compensated for their services. AMS received a 50-megawatt contract from Southern California Edison in 2014 to provide behind-the-meter battery storage in the Western Los Angeles Basin area.
“SCE is tapping into the power of their own customers’ building load to manage the grid,” Susan Kennedy, chief executive officer of AMS, said in a statement. “This revolutionary partnership between a utility and its customers represents the future of the electric grid.”
The first units in Irvine will be installed by the end of this year. Some of the proceeds from the partnership between Irvine Company and AMS will go to microlending in the Orange County area.
In another active market for distributed energy storage, Watanabe Floral in Hawaii became the first customer in Hawaiian Electric Company’s territory to install a Stem energy storage system.
Stem and HECO announced a $2.1 million pilot program last year to deploy 1 megawatt of energy storage on Oahu. The batteries will provide grid stability to HECO’s solar-saturated distribution circuits.
The project is supported by the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research’s Energy Excelerator. Other early customers in Oahu include Menehune Water and the Honolulu Museum of Art.
“We see energy storage supported by intelligent software as an increasingly essential component of our business,” Shelee Kimura, HECO vice president for corporate planning and business development, said in a statement. Stem also has a contract for 85 megawatts of energy storage with Southern California Edison.
California-based startups are hardly the only players tackling the behind-the-meter energy storage market. Johnson Controls announced its distributed energy storage offering this week at Energy Storage North America in San Diego.
One of Johnson Controls' first projects is in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, owned by Vornado Realty Trust. The 4.2-million-square-foot building was already using Johnson Controls for demand response.
With energy storage, the building can now play in PJM’s frequency regulation market. Johnson Controls said that its energy management platform coupled with storage could save buildings up to 35 percent in electricity costs.
Johnson Controls is offering its lithium-ion batteries that range from 500 kilowatts to 2 megawatts for large commercial and industrial customers, as well as 50-kilowatt to 250-kilowatt systems for commercial customers that want to put the energy storage systems within their building’s electrical room.
Johnson Controls joins a busy field of energy-storage system vendors that includes other large players such as ABB, Tesla and Bosch competing with an array of startups in the commercial and industrial market, such as Stem, AMS, Geli and Greensmith.
GTM Research expects the U.S. energy storage market to grow by 250 percent in 2015. California leads by a long shot, especially for commercial and industrial behind-the-meter projects, which saw nearly 5 megawatts of installations in the second quarter of this year.