Commercial storage in US poised for growth as Ideal Power targets microgrids

The commercial and industrial energy storage market in North America is poised for healthy growth, a dynamic that is attracting investment into this sector, Ryan O’Keefe, senior vice president of business development for Ideal Power, a developer of power conversion technologies told Batteries International.

O’Keefe was speaking after Ideal Power signed a deal with Sonnenbatterie, a German developer of lithium-ion-based energy storage systems, which represents a significant partnership for Ideal Power and signals the intent of Sonnenbatterie to target the market in North America.

“Sonnenbatterie is a recognized market leader in Germany’s residential distributed energy storage market. Its entry into the North American commercial and industrial energy storage market shows that this segment is attracting credible new investment and is poised for continued growth,” said O’Keefe.

Sonnenbatterie has selected Ideal Power’s Power Packet Switching Architecture (PPSA), for integration with its commercial system. Sonnenbatterie also placed initial product orders with Ideal Power for delivery in August.

O’Keefe said peak demand management was a growing issue in the US as the cost of energy increases becoming a growing burden to businesses.

“Demand charges from utilities make up a significant portion of operating expenditures for commercial and industrial building owners, especially in highly populated US states like California and New York where peak consumption is rapidly approaching total generation capacity,” he said.

“Energy storage, whether standalone or integrated with PV, is a proven way for these businesses to optimize their energy consumption and reduce the high cost of energy during the peak demand periods.”

While Ideal Power anticipates strong growth in markets such as these, he also believes the development of microgrids in more remote parts of the world will offer opportunities.

“Behind-the-meter energy storage applications have been growing steadily in places like California and New York where the market has shown an increasing need,” he said.

“However, microgrids are becoming a sizeable piece of our pipeline and we’ve begun to ship products for microgrid test installations outside of North America. Our grid resilient products are easily configurable for both 50Hz and 60Hz environments, and ideally suited for all global markets.”

O’Keefe said he believed the company’s deal with Sonnenbatterie could also lead to bigger things.

“Their selection of Ideal Power’s products to enter this market further validates the fact that Ideal Power offers the best and most competitive solutions on the market. This relationship will both further extend Ideal Power’s market reach in North America and also gives us access to Sonnenbatterie’s global audience.

“Sonnenbatterie has placed multiple orders with Ideal Power and we expect to see steady activity going forward.

“Again, we anticipate that this partnership with Sonnenbatterie will be beneficial for both companies as we continue to grow, providing opportunity for further growth in the US and beyond.”