ForeFront Power to deploy solar, AI-powered energy storage for collection of California schools

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An artificial intelligence-powered energy storage company, Stem Inc., is working with C&I solar developer ForeFront Power to develop solar+storage energy systems for schools and municipalities throughout California. ForeFront Power and Stem were selected as the best renewable energy solutions provider by the School Project for Utility Rate Reduction (SPURR), a California-based joint powers authority that aggregates the buying power of over 240 member schools, colleges, and other public agencies.

Over 20 public agencies have used SPURR’s Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement Program to secure preferential pricing and terms for solar and storage solutions with less sourcing expense and effort. ForeFront Power’s solar solutions and financing, paired with Stem’s energy storage, enable public schools and agencies to reduce substantial energy expenses, hedge rising utility costs, and conserve bond funds for other needs, with no need for capital outlay or bond money.

Stem, Inc. has been developing solar+storage projects since 2013 for public and private non-residential customers, including sites at several California schools and universities.

“Our artificial intelligence and partner-friendly platform allows solar developers to maximize economic returns for the solar customer in the face of dramatically changing solar rates and rules, while also building the capabilities for future grid services revenue,” said John Carrington, CEO of Stem, Inc.

Stem has the largest project finance pool among its peers, now over US $500 million, enabling Stem’s 860 energy storage systems under management across five states and three countries (U.S., Japan, and Canada). Athena, Stem’s cutting-edge AI, is the first of its kind for customer-sited energy storage, performing real-time energy optimization that reduces onsite peak demand and enabling customers to participate via Stem’s networks to access additional services and value streams.

— Solar Builder magazine

EnSync Energy jumps into residential solar+storage, includes ‘peer-to-peer’ energy exchange

Ensync energy systems

EnSync Energy Systems, a leader in distributed energy resources (DERs) and business models for commercial and industrial (C&I) buildings and microgrid installations, is launching a new integrated system for residential customers. The EnSync Home Energy System combines solar, energy storage, power electronics and an Internet of Energy control platform that delivers state-of-the-art functionality and modularity, with industry benchmark economics, safety and system efficiency. This could be the solution the multifamily sector has been waiting for.

“The current state of solar plus energy storage systems for the home is in the dark ages,” said Brad Hansen, president and CEO of EnSync Energy Systems. “Most are significantly underpowered and cannot support the entire home if the grid electricity is out, or they have issues disconnecting and reconnecting to the grid during an outage. If the home is off-grid, many cannot reliably perform if high inrush currents are created by the start-up of appliances like refrigerators or air conditioners.”

Hansen is also wary of the saftey of most home solar + storage systems.

“Many systems use lithium-ion batteries that are repackaged EV car batteries,” he continues. “Some of these battery chemistries raise thermal stability concerns when utilized in a home energy storage application. Systems on the market today are typically characterized by a mix and match of components that may or may not integrate well together and lack the modularity required to customize the optimum system for each individual home.”

The EnSync Home Energy System addresses these weaknesses and includes a residential-scale version of the company’s modular Matrix Energy Management system, safe and thermally resilient lithium-ion batteries and its DER Flex Internet of Energy solution — all of which were designed to work together at the outset.

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

Peer to Peer innovation

“Additionally, we’re bringing a phenomenal differentiator to the market with our True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange technology,” Hansen says. “True Peer-to-Peer enables individual residential units in a property to be linked into a network behind the utility meter to provide highly efficient, direct energy exchange between units. This is a major advantage for property developers, property managers and homeowners’ associations, providing the benefit of highly efficient and economical transfer of excess energy from any given residence on the DC-Link to any other residence in the network with excess demand. With True Peer-to-Peer, the entire property experiences a dramatic increase in the efficiency of the deployed renewable generation across the community. The payoff is a reduced consumption of grid electricity and significantly improved solar energy economics for everyone in the network.”

The sharing of electricity between interconnected residences on a True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange network prioritizes the use of solar generated or stored electricity ahead of that from the utility grid for any residence in the network. The network can also be configured as “non-export,” meaning no excess generation for any unit goes back to the utility grid. This capability is becoming more critical as several states and jurisdictions prohibit or economically penalize energy export.

Additionally, many utilities are in the early stages of implementing time-of-day electricity rates and are already levying increasing demand charges on customers. The evolving rate structures and impact of resident vacancy rates, vacation schedules and time-of-day load profiles frequently make deploying solar generation uneconomical for large portions of a property development. Virtual net-metering and virtual peer-to-peer programs are fraught with excessive complexity and administrative overhead. True Peer-to-Peer changes the game by incorporating each residence in the network onto a simple DC-Link, where the excess generation or generation deficit impacts of any given unit can be aggregated across a larger population of units in the network.

“The future of the electricity market will be individual homes and building owners operating in a ‘spot market’ for the buying and selling of electricity across a network. At EnSync, we have enabled this future to exist today with our innovative products and services,” said Hansen. “Our mission for the company is simple: the democratization of energy through innovative and economic energy systems. Homeowners and property owners that install our products today do so with the confidence that as the market for energy continues to be radically changed, they are not only prepared for it, but can capitalize on it and profit from it.”

EnSync will initially target the multi-residential property market for its solution, then broaden its market presence. At the time of announcement, the company has already built a sizable order backlog for the EnSync Home Energy System, including the approximately 150-unit Keahumoa Place property in Oahu, Hawaii, announced on May 9, which will utilize True Peer-to-Peer energy exchange.

The EnSync Home Energy System includes high-efficiency “LFP” lithium-ion batteries, a Matrix Energy Management system with 9-kilowatt alternating current (AC) output capacity, modular energy storage capacity of 9-kilowatt hour increments, modular direct current (DC)-DC converters for photovoltaic and energy storage and the DER Flex Internet of Energy control platform, which enables a home to access the same DER Flex cloud-based computing platform utilized by EnSync for connectivity between the asset owner, grid network and real-time market data for its C&I customers.

— Solar Builder magazine

State funding paves way for solar plus storage system at New York college campus

A solar energy and battery storage system was completed on The State University of New York at New Paltz campus. The battery storage unit will be used at times of high electric demand and during emergencies or power outages to support the college’s designated emergency shelter for the campus and community at the college’s Elting Gymnasium. The project supports N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to increase the transmission of clean and renewable energy to meet an energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts in New York State by 2025.

“New Yorkers know all too well the devastating impact of climate change, and we have taken bold action to slow its effects and invest in the energies of tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “This renewable energy and storage project will greatly enhance the college’s resiliency in the event of an emergency while also reducing the state’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars year-round.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who was present at the ribbon-cutting event, said, “This innovative project advances New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers. Thanks to a significant investment from New York State, this project will provide great benefits to both SUNY New Paltz and the state’s electric grid.”

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Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of Governor Cuomo said, “Energy storage, especially when paired with renewable energy sources, makes up the building blocks of the Governor’s ambitious energy goals for the state. This partnership of state government entities will provide the road map to success for these rapidly emerging technologies.”

From planned research on this system, New York State utilities will be able to optimize the amount of renewable energy utilized on the state’s power grid, supporting the Governor’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The $1.37 million project will install solar panels for the 217-kilowatt project on the gym’s roof and on the roof of the nearby Sojourner Truth Library to support the battery storage system. This will allow the college to utilize stored solar power during emergencies and times of peak energy demand. NYPA implemented the renewable energy and resiliency upgrades.

More than $580,000 in funding for the project from Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. $272,000 in additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for the solar portion of this project through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. An additional $189,000 came from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the college’s local utility. The additional costs for the project were financed by NYPA and will be repaid by the college.

This project was led by NYPA in partnership with SUNY New Paltz. NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are utilizing this project to research additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative.

— Solar Builder magazine

LG Electronics, Cypress Creek complete large portfolio of solar-plus-storage projects in North Carolina

LG Solar Farm

One of the 12 new utility-scale LG solar farms in North Carolina, developed by LG Electronics with Cypress Creek Renewables. (PRNewsfoto/LG Electronics USA)

LG Electronics joined Cypress Creek Renewables, the nation’s fastest-growing solar farm developer, to celebrate the official opening of one of largest solar-plus-storage installations in the continental United States – an 8.5 megawatt portfolio of utility-scale solar projects, with storage capacity of 12 megawatt hours, in North Carolina.

All told, 21,900 high-performance LG solar panels (395-watt LG NeON 2 72-cell modules) have been installed across a dozen separate solar farms in Columbus and Brunswick counties. LG Electronics provided tax equity financing to the projects in partnership with Cypress Creek.

Cypress Creek acquired the projects from United Renewable Energy, the initial developer of the projects. The power developed on these sites will give the local homes and businesses in the area access to clean and affordable energy. The LG solar panels will charge batteries during off-peak periods. Once the batteries are charged each day, the solar portion of the projects will continue to deliver energy to the grid. During peak load times in the summer and winter, the projects will provide reliable renewable energy using the batteries, and LG solar panels will reduce the utility’s peak power requirements.

RELATED: New guide shows strategies for pairing community solar with storage 

Backed by best-in-class 15-year product and 25-year performance warranties, LG NeON 2 72-cell solar panels are designed to deliver higher efficiency. LG’s flagship panels feature innovative LG Cello technology, which utilizes circular-shaped wires to scatter light for better absorption while reducing the electrical loss and increasing power output and reliability.

“Creating a clean, sustainable future that’s accessible and affordable is central to LG’s goal of providing solutions that match changing needs in our communities, workplaces and homes – including innovative, intelligent solutions for energy conservation, solar energy and energy storage. LG’s involvement in these projects underscores the company’s commitment to providing innovative, market-leading solutions to its partners and customers,” said Tim Distler, head of solar business development, LG Electronics USA.

— Solar Builder magazine

LG Electronics, Cypress Creek complete large portfolio of solar-plus-storage projects in North Carolina

LG Solar Farm

One of the 12 new utility-scale LG solar farms in North Carolina, developed by LG Electronics with Cypress Creek Renewables. (PRNewsfoto/LG Electronics USA)

LG Electronics joined Cypress Creek Renewables, the nation’s fastest-growing solar farm developer, to celebrate the official opening of one of largest solar-plus-storage installations in the continental United States – an 8.5 megawatt portfolio of utility-scale solar projects, with storage capacity of 12 megawatt hours, in North Carolina.

All told, 21,900 high-performance LG solar panels (395-watt LG NeON 2 72-cell modules) have been installed across a dozen separate solar farms in Columbus and Brunswick counties. LG Electronics provided tax equity financing to the projects in partnership with Cypress Creek.

Cypress Creek acquired the projects from United Renewable Energy, the initial developer of the projects. The power developed on these sites will give the local homes and businesses in the area access to clean and affordable energy. The LG solar panels will charge batteries during off-peak periods. Once the batteries are charged each day, the solar portion of the projects will continue to deliver energy to the grid. During peak load times in the summer and winter, the projects will provide reliable renewable energy using the batteries, and LG solar panels will reduce the utility’s peak power requirements.

RELATED: New guide shows strategies for pairing community solar with storage 

Backed by best-in-class 15-year product and 25-year performance warranties, LG NeON 2 72-cell solar panels are designed to deliver higher efficiency. LG’s flagship panels feature innovative LG Cello technology, which utilizes circular-shaped wires to scatter light for better absorption while reducing the electrical loss and increasing power output and reliability.

“Creating a clean, sustainable future that’s accessible and affordable is central to LG’s goal of providing solutions that match changing needs in our communities, workplaces and homes – including innovative, intelligent solutions for energy conservation, solar energy and energy storage. LG’s involvement in these projects underscores the company’s commitment to providing innovative, market-leading solutions to its partners and customers,” said Tim Distler, head of solar business development, LG Electronics USA.

— Solar Builder magazine