CalCom Energy’s $100M Fund Targets Farms for Solar-Battery Systems

In California, it’s not just vulnerable families and critical services that could use battery-backed solar systems to ride through wildfire-prevention power outages. Farms also have critical energy needs, like pumping water to crops on set schedules, or chilling them after harvest, that could face significant disruption under the state’s new wildfire prevention regime. CalCom Energy, a long-time solar and energy services provider for California’s agricultural sector, thinks it has a solution. This week, the Fresno-based developer launched a $100 million Agriculture Energy Infrastructure Fund, aimed at combining low-cost solar power-purchase agreements with the backup power of energy storage.

Panasonic Launches New Residential Solar Battery

Panasonic has launched a lithium-ion storage solution for residential solar installations. The company said its EverVolt storage system is available in the U.S. in AC and DC-coupled versions and boasts a storage capacity ranging from 5.7 kWh up to to 34.2 kWh. The Japanese electronics giant added the system is compatible with all kinds of PV technologies and inverters and can be tailored to homeowner needs. Panasonic said owners can monitor their systems with bespoke software and a user-friendly app.

Recent Changes to California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, Explained

California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is one of the longest-running and most successful distributed generation incentive programs in the country. It has evolved several times since its inception, and a recent decision by the Public Utilities Commission moves SGIP in several important new directions in response to fresh challenges faced by the state.

From Science Project to Money Maker: Energy Storage Hits Inflection Point

In 2014, the vast majority of storage projects Greensmith Energy was working on might have best been described as science projects, often dependent on grants or utility R&D budgets devoted to figuring out emerging technologies. Today, potential projects are evaluated primarily on their business case. The reason most energy storage projects these days are driven by solid financial returns is because there are more and more ways to generate revenue. It’s a testament to just how much the economics of battery storage and the renewables it supports have improved in less than a few years.

DOE Announces Phase 1 Winners of Battery Recycling Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy announced the 15 winners of Phase 1 of the Battery Recycling Prize, a prize that aims to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology. For a total of $1 million in prizes, these projects focus on cost-effective recycling processes to recover as much economic value as possible from spent lithium-ion batteries.

Oil and Gas Investor EnCap Sees Big Opportunity in Energy Storage

EnCap Investments has directed about $37 billion in venture investment into oil and gas companies over its 30 years in business. Now, it’s making its first investments into clean energy, with a goal of developing up to 2 gigawatts of utility-scale energy storage, either on its own or linked to solar, wind and peaker plants.

SmartFlower Solar Partners with NEC to Incorporate Storage Capabilities to its Smartflower System

SmartFlower Solar has partnered with NEC Energy Solutions, who will be supplying the batteries for the Smartflower +Plus. With battery storage being a major area of growth for the clean energy industry, SmartFlower will be able to continuously provide customers with the ability to produce and store clean, reliable energy whether they’re on or off the grid. The Smartflower +Plus is a self-contained solar energy system with 5.5 kWh of battery storage and is fully integrated.

UMass Boston Will Install 1-MW solar/2-MWh Storage Project with EV Charging

Enel X has signed an agreement with the University of Massachusetts Boston to install a 1-MW solar facility integrated with a 500-kW/2-MWh lithium-ion energy storage system, as well as 11 Enel X JuiceBox electric vehicle (EV) smart charging stations at the campus. The project is expected to be operational by the first half of 2020. Through the integration of the PV facility with the lithium-ion energy storage system, UMass will be able to generate and store renewable energy to be used when electricity costs are highest, thereby reducing the campus’s grid dependence and energy spending by more than $1.5 million.

GE Scores California Storage Hat-Trick

GE Renewable Energy has been selected by Convergent Energy and Power to supply of battery energy storage systems for three projects in California with total capacity of 100 megawatt-hours. The scope also includes a long-term service agreement and augmentation guarantees. GE said the project will bring its total battery storage capacity in operation or under construction to 495MWh.

Bolivia in Push to Become Global Battery Industrial Hotspot

Bolivia will try and capitalize on its large lithium reserves to set up an industrial ecosystem around batteries and other storage technologies, according to a top government official. The country’s vice president Alvaro García Linera described the government’s plans for a “lithium industrialization” drive as he attended the opening of a PV project in Oruro, in Bolivia’s west. “Oruro won’t just produce mineral and power but also lithium, lithium hydroxide, cathodes and lithium batteries,” García said as he toured the 50MW first batch of a 100MW PV complex.