Sharp’s New SmartStorage Energy Solution Provides Benefits for Solar

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We already know about the enormous potential of battery storage. Battery storage is in that exciting stage between becoming fully realized and still being explored. Energy storage has also gained momentum as a way to reduce demand charges. This means that the growing technology and financial benefits of energy storage are becoming more recognized. An example: this week, Sharp Electrics Corporation announced the release of Sharp’s SmartStorage energy solution.  

SmartStorage stores electric energy and selectively releases it in order to limit a facility’s electricity demand. It’s a controlled system using lithium-ion batteries that releases energy in a way that enables high performance, high efficiency and grid resiliency. That allowing for there to be backup power in the case of a blackout or extreme weather event. It can be used as a “stand-alone solution” or with an installation. It also reduces utility demand charges for industrial and commercial buildings. It provides a performance guarantee after a review of a commercial customer’s historical load profile.

“Our product’s combination of cutting-edge hardware, integrated with sharp’s unique software, and backed by our 10-year O&M service and performance guarantee provides a turnkey solution that works widely for commercial and industrial business owners,” says Carl Mansfield, General Manager of Sharp’s Energy Systems and Service Group

The system was developed at Camas, at the Washington-based Sharp Laboratories of America, tested over the course of 18 months. It was validated at a commercial building pilot deployment in downtown San Diego, based on its performance and reliability.

Sharp signed distribution agreements and made initial product orders with California-based project development allies so that California businesses can start using SmartStorage systems. California is a good initial location for SmartStorage, because the state has a self-generation incentive program for on-site energy storage. Despite resistance from utilities, state regulators have made it a requirement for utilities to connect battery-backed solar to the grid. California is also a popular place for distributed solar, with a “growing market for behind-the-meter energy storage,” according to Greentech Media. SmartStorage is currently only available in California, but will be released across the U.S. in the second half of 2014.

Sharp also signed a multi-year purchase agreement with Ideal Power, using Ideal Power’s converter technology for the SmartStorage system. Ideal Power’s converter technology has gained popularity due to its ability to enable “cost-effective integration of energy storage and solar photovoltaic.”

“Previously, there was no good solution for buildings with either crowded roofs or high demand charges,” said Brandon Conard, Chief Strategy Officer of HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company that has provided more than 4,000 solar and clean energy installations across California. “SmartStorage, backed by Sharp’s world-class combination of technology, reliability and service track record, is the best product in the market.”