Suntech and SunPower Sold on Solar Storage

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Storage is the word of the day in the solar industry. Storage news is proliferating, and it’s coming in more than one form.

Today, we learned that Suntech is investing $25 million in a U.S. energy storage company, Powin Energy. PV Tech reports that Suntech has the option to acquire another 30% of the company for $37.5 million.

Powin Energy makes lithium-ion storage technologies for grid, micro-grid, transportation, residential, and commercial applications, as well as high-speed charging devices.

Speaking of charging, SunPower is also getting into the storage game with a car-charging angle. According to Bloomberg, SunPower is partnering with Volkswagen and Audi to offer hybrid-car buyers a home power network they can use to charge their cars with solar power.

It’s a great way for the solar company to reach new customers. “This is another brick in the wall of becoming an energy services company,” Chief Executive Officer Tom Werner told Bloomberg. “You’ve got customers who appreciate efficiency, great engineering. It doesn’t have to be a car company.”

What stands out about this particular partnerships is the offering of battery storage, expected to be available early next year.

SunPower’s foray into storage doesn’t stop there. The company is working on a residential energy storage solution in Australia that could serve as a template for other locations. And SunPower is also piloting a home solar storage project in California.

We’re just at the tip of the iceberg for solar storage. And unlike those at the poles, this is one iceberg we’d like to see melt.