Solar energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. It’s an excellent choice for homeowners around the world. It can cut electricity bills dramatically and deliver up some pretty sweet long-term savings. But things get really exciting when you let it play with a cheap, home energy storage system. OK, I’m not sure if there’s a truly “cheap” system out there yet, but prices are falling for those as well, and a decent energy storage system with a solar power system is a match that utility companies probably don’t want to see.
Recent news is that energy storage company Greensmith Energy Management Systems has teamed up with South-Australian solar developer ZEN Energy Systems in the land down under.
“In the agreement, Greensmith will provide software licenses for its Battery Operating System to ZEN, who will market and deliver a line of energy storage products in Australia.”
This could be big news.
The partnership can actually benefit utilities too, though. Here are some more details:
Greensmith, previously a provider of turn-key energy storage systems, has started a shift towards a stand-alone software and controls business. In this partnership, ZEN will use the Greensmith Battery Operating System and associated software applications as the core computing technology inside a new line of energy storage systems.
These applications include a wide variety of functions for customers on both sides of the meter; for instance frequency regulation for utility customers, and cost optimization around on-peak and off-peak periods for behind-the-meter customers. ZEN will also use Greensmith’s proprietary Battery Management System to ensure optimal management of each electron.
ZEN will market the products, manage the supply chain of batteries and inverters, and deliver the final products to its local customers in Australia.
Greensmith has previously provided turn-key systems in conjunction with solar projects. The company recently released a case study about their project with leading CPV developer Amonix. Greensmith continues to take orders for turn-key systems outside of Australia, but over time will focus primarily on the computing side of the business, with future revenues coming primarily from software licenses.
In addition to the operating system and software applications, Greensmith will provide a hosted user portal and analytics services to tune the operation of individual units. With countless sensors tracking data every 1.5 seconds, this is clearly a Big Data optimization opportunity which Greensmith has recognized.
Through the online user portal, customers with multiple units will tap into centralized fleet management, a timely offering for utility customers with a mounting interest in asset management systems.
Looks interesting. We’ll see what kind of cost figures this results in.
The residential systems (5 kW / 20 kWh) will be available to the general residential marketplace in fall 2012 (this coming spring in Australia), the company states. It will also be offering commercial and utility-scale energy storage systems.
I wasn’t initially clear on what the rating above referred to, so went and got a little clarification from the crew. Here’s what they said: “It’s a unit rated for 5 kW of power at 4 hours of duration, for 20 kWh total energy capacity. Should a customer use less than 5 KW of power (which is likely), it will last longer than 4 hours. For our Australian customers, this is expected to last a full day off-grid.” Looks good. Hopefully the price is right.
Image Credit: Greensmith
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.