CivicSolar now offering Sharp’s SmartStorage to its solar installer network

120 kW160 kWh Sharp SmartStorage system at Channel Lumber in Oakland CA-3.JPG

Any solar installers interested in moving into the commercial energy storage space may want to check this out: CivicSolar is now offering Sharp’s SmartStorage energy storage system through its vast distribution network.

Sharp’s intelligent energy storage solution paired with solar PV systems works to reduce energy usage for commercial properties. Sharp’s SmartStorage system is designed to pull power from the SmartStorage batteries rather than from the utility at the times of highest demand (which are the most expensive rates) and is particularly suited for properties in parts of California where commercial utility customers are paying up to 50 percent of their energy bills toward demand charges. Channel Lumber paid $172,385 in demand charges alone over a one year period.

Sharp’s SmartStorage system is available with a 10-year demand reduction performance guarantee and asset management service agreement.

Details on first project

120 kW160 kWh Sharp SmartStorage system at Channel Lumber in Oakland CA-5.JPG

120 kW, 160 kWh Sharp SmartStorage system at Channel Lumber in Oakland.

Sharp and CivicSolar’s first project will be with technology developer and systems integrator Forecast Energy. The project features a 120 kW/160 kWh SmartStorage system plus a 313.5 kW solar system and Forecast Energy’s proprietary forecasting platform that has been installed at Channel Lumber, one of the largest lumber companies in the Bay Area.

“It’s a privilege to have been selected by Forecast Energy for the Channel Lumber project and by CivicSolar as a distribution ally, which will see them promote our SmartStorage system to their network of 3,500 customers,” said Carl Mansfield, General Manager and Founder of Sharp’s U.S. based Energy Systems and Services Group. “CivicSolar will broaden our reach to their vast network of customers in the solar industry and will bring our SmartStorage solution to customers that are facing expensive peak demand charges. We anticipate teaming with both CivicSolar and Forecast Energy on future solar plus SmartStorage projects.”

A detailed analysis of Channel Lumber’s energy usage profile estimates that the solar plus SmartStorage system will bring $160,466 in energy and demand savings annually – an estimated 62 percent reduction in Channel Lumber’s total bill. Forecast Energy selected Sharp’s SmartStorage system and was the integrator and installer for the entire project.

“After evaluating a number of systems, we chose solar plus Sharp’s SmartStorage energy storage system because it provides our customer with better, cleaner power along with greater flexibility in their energy management and it integrates incredibly well with our solution stack,” said Paul O’ Sullivan, COO of Forecast Energy. “We are thankful for the team at CivicSolar for bringing us high quality and industry-leading energy products, and in this case a reliable, brand-name solution backed by a 10-year performance guarantee, giving us confidence in our selection.”

Solar+storage: What’s holding back solar systems with energy storage?


— Solar Builder magazine

Ice Energy cooling, energy storage system achieves world record efficiency

The Ice Bear 20 home cooling and energy storage system from Ice Energy has achieved a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14.56 when operating like a conventional AC unit, and when operating in its ice cooling mode using stored ice, an unprecedented Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 150 — more than three times greater than the next best rating, which is a geothermal system with an EER of 46.

Ice Bear explained

Ice Energy

The Ice Bear 20 is a hybrid system, able to create cooling just like a conventional air conditioning unit, as well as to create, store and deliver cooling in the form of ice. The Ice Bear 20 is based on Ice Energy’s award-winning Ice Bear 30 energy storage system for commercial and industrial air conditioners, but unlike the Ice Bear 30, completely replaces the conventional home AC unit. The system cools the home 24/7 to the temperature set by the homeowner, and for four hours can eliminate 95 percent of the electricity load by cooling with ice.

The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

“The Ice Bear 20 is unlike any other home cooling system, combining the best of conventional AC technology with Ice Energy’s thermal energy storage technology,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy. “There currently are no energy efficiency standards for a product of this kind, but we decided to put it to the test and engaged a leading accredited third-party lab to perform the industry standard AHRI SEER rating test. We were delighted to learn that when tested as if it were a conventional AC unit, the Ice Bear 20 achieved a SEER of 14.56, higher than required anywhere in the U.S. — a remarkable accomplishment given that there’s much more to an Ice Bear 20 than a conventional AC unit.”

Large-scale manufacturing of the Ice Bear 20 is set to begin this summer to fulfill contracts already in hand for utility-sponsored programs in California and Massachusetts. Later this year the product will be made available directly to homeowners in certain regions, including California, Hawaii, Australia and the Middle East. In California, net of applicable rebates, it will cost less than a conventional AC unit, save homeowners hundreds on their utility bills, and if they have solar PV, also store their solar energy.

— Solar Builder magazine

Stäubli, Power-Blox form partnership to work on energy storage solutions


Stäubli Electrical Connectors (formerly Multi-Contact), the pioneer and global market leader in electrical connectors for Photovoltaic solutions, and Power-Blox the award-winning Swiss start-up enter into a strategic partnership for innovative energy storage solutions.

With over 20 years of experience in the photovoltaic industry and more than 1 billion installed PV connector components, Stäubli Electrical Connectors provides more than 150 GW or 50% of the worldwide PV capacity. With the new technology called “Swarm Power”, developed by the Swiss start-up company Power-Blox and its intelligent energy cubes, an off-the-grid energy sup-ply can be produced without any technical know-how or configuration.

Power-Blox is the first modular solar energy system, which offers alternating current up to the megawatt range based on swarm technology. This revolutionary concept also allows for a completely mobile supply and functions as a portable outlet.

Power-Blox explains how it uses ‘swarm power’ to create intelligent autonomous energy grids

“The product and solution portfolio of Power-Blox fits very well into the strategic development of our ‘alternative energies’ business. Combined with our powerful and durable connector solutions for photovoltaic plants, these innovative systems and the swarm technology open up total-ly new fields of application in the growing market of energy storage systems”, says Franco Delvecchio, CEO of Stäubli Electrical Connectors and member of the Executive Committee of the Stäubli Group about the cooperation.

“Swarm Power” imitates complex systems by their nature to create fully autonomous and intelligent power grids all over the world. Anyone can create an independent, decentralized power supply grid without additional technical know-how. The “plug and play” solution consists of stand-alone energy cubes with an integrated battery, which can be expanded as desired, thus enabling a scalable power supply. Each cube can supply electricity which is independent of the grid and is supplied by external sources such as solar systems or wind energy. Typical applications include the supply of mobile or temporary installations for aid organizations, rural electrification in remote areas, military installations or as a reserve battery for bridging in power in the event of power outages in unstable public networks.

— Solar Builder magazine

Meet Smappee Plus: The latest advanced energy monitoring to enter the U.S. solar market

smappee solar storageNow entering the U.S. solar market, Smappee Plus is the latest innovation from Smappee’s burgeoning energy monitoring solutions which have seen widespread adoption across Europe since 2012. The product combines Smappee’s patented NILM (Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring) technology with submetering clamps to measure real-time energy use from appliances throughout a user’s home including those with variable output or similar energy consumption patterns, giving previously undetectable transparency to energy use.

Ideal for homes with solar and other renewable technologies, Smappee Plus also acts as an energy controller by directing energy traffic within a users’ home to maximize both energy efficiency and clean energy payback. With many homes now, and in the future becoming ‘smart homes’ featuring multiple energy installations such as solar, heat pumps and batteries, Smappee Plus is designed for the current and future home, including optimization for peer-to-peer energy trading on microgrids using blockchain technology.

“Smappee Plus has been developed to become the new standard in home energy monitor-ing”, stated Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee. “With the European Commission recently forecasting that 68 million homes in Europe and the US will be smart homes by 2019, con-sumers increasingly require a more intelligent, reliable means to monitor their energy. We’ve designed Smappee Plus to be a central energy hub, monitoring and managing the various energy flows of the present and future smart home, ultimately bringing greater en-ergy ownership to homeowners.”

Smappee Plus will be sold exclusively to solar distributors and installers within the US. The company are looking to address the recurring issue of high customer acquisition costs by empowering installers and distributors with value add monitoring system to to reengage their existing and potential customers. Additionally, Smappee Plus provides solar profes-sionals with a route into the growing smart home market, offering a superior product and strong differentiation in an increasingly competitive solar market.

Smappee with be showcasing their Smappee Plus at the Impress Lounge during next month’s Intersolar North America at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, July 11-13 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine

California’s Clean Energy Storage bill passes Senate

California solar power

While the executive branch attempts to go backward with its energy goals, progressive states continue to march forward as the California Senate passed a bill that would give consumers more access to clean energy and provide the next critical piece for California to achieve its aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. SB 700, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would increase availability of local, customer-sited energy storage for schools, farms, businesses and homes.

“In California, we are pushing aggressive renewable energy goals because we know that fighting climate change means taking action now,” said Senator Wiener. “This bill will push us down the path to 100% renewable energy. To meet our goals, we need solar, storage and other renewable energy resources in every city and neighborhood in California, not just those that can afford it. This bill will transform energy storage so that all can reap the benefits of clean, renewable energy.”

Details of the bill

SB 700 would create a 10-year rebate program designed to grow the California local storage market and make storage more affordable for consumers. The rebates would step down as more storage systems are installed and economies of scale are achieved, thereby driving down the installed cost of the systems. Local energy storage enables the integration of large amounts of renewable energy, creates value for consumers by helping them save money on energy bills, and increases grid reliability.

“Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Scott Wiener, Californians are one step closer to taking control of their clean energy future,” said Laura Gray, energy storage policy advisor with the California Solar Energy Industries Association. “This bill would allow homes, businesses, schools and public buildings to use solar and renewable energy at all hours of the day and night. Using a combination of solar and storage, consumers will make the sun shine at night.”

CPUC relaunches Self-Generation Incentive Program with big focus on energy storage

The bill also takes many steps to ensure Californians across the state are participating in the clean energy economy and have access to this program. Specifically, the bill would dedicate a portion of rebate funding for underserved areas and low-income households.

“The California Housing Partnership strongly supports SB 700. By setting aside 30 percent of incentives for low-income homes across the state, along with small businesses and public institutions in disadvantaged and low-income communities, this bill will empower Californians to equitably share in the benefits of energy storage,” said Stephanie Wang, policy director for the California Housing Partnership. “By prioritizing projects that will receive AB 693 Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs incentives, this bill will also support the long-term success of a key solar program for low-income California renters.”

The bill passed by a vote of 23 to 13 in the Senate. The bill now moves to the State Assembly.

— Solar Builder magazine