A US startup aims to lower energy costs by balancing the power grid with batteries charged during cheaper non-peak hours. It just received $15 million in funding from General Electric and the Spanish renewable energy company Iberdrola.
Stem, an energy storage company in San Mateo, CA, is part of a trend that will lead to cheaper, better batteries and load balancing kit that will assist the off-grid movement.The premise of Stem’s business model is the inefficiencies in the current utilities industry.
It named John Carrington its new chief executive officer late last week. In an interview he described the company as a developer of “integrated cloud energy optimization”, which leverages real-time data, cloud-based predictive analytics and energy storage to help businesses optimize energy use.
Buildings are put on energy systems, which use the utilities’ grid and a lithium ion battery. Stem integrates data from various sources to provide energy usage forecasts. Energy flows to batteries when power is cheap and stores it there. It then releases the energy for use during higher, and pricier, usage hours.
“It (the product) learns buildings and observes weather to take you off the grid,” said Carrington – “so you don’t get peak demand time charges. From the utilities’ standpoint, it helps them with their congestion issues.”
Prior to joining Stem, Carrington was CEO at MiaSole, a solar company with more than $550 million of investment. Previously, Carrington was executive vice president of marketing and business development at San Francisco-based First Solar.
“We expect to hire 20 percent more employees and to expand into other markets such as Southern California, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York,” he said. “[The funding is] a big statement and a vote of confidence in our technology.”
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