Vivint Partners With Mercedes-Benz to Sell Storage Alongside Solar

20 May, 2017, 04:11 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Tesla's Powerwall

The partnership will allow both companies to compete with similar offerings from Elon Musk's Tesla, which acquired rooftop installer Solar City past year, as well as Sunrun, LG Chem, and other clean energy firms.

California is the first part of America to be offered the Mercedes-Benz Energy system. One cool thing about these batteries is that they're modular - each individual weighs in at 2.5kWh, and they can be combined to create systems up to 20kWh. Now, Mercedes-Benz Energy has announced its association with Vivint Solar in order to provide energy storage batteries in the USA, with the state of California rolling-out the first stock by this spring.

Musk made that much clear at his initial solar-roof unveiling, where he discussed how a solar push would allow for the full integration of Tesla products: a Powerwall that both stores solar energy and juices up your Tesla electric auto. In addition to being able to purchase a solar energy system outright, customers may benefit from Vivint Solar's affordable, flexible financing options or power purchase agreements. Despite this market's diminutive stature, the big players in the solar industry have pounced on strategic partnerships that set them up to deliver as falling battery prices and changing tariffs make the economics more alluring.

What Mercedes is doing is marrying its home battery technology with Vivint's home solar panel business.

Read: Solar Energy In U.S.: Could You Have A Solar Home?

The market for energy storage is small, but growing rapidly as the costs of lithium-ion batteries fall.

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Rechargeable batteries are necessary for storing the electricity generated by solar panels, which can then be used during peak grid times. The German company was looking to break into the US solar home storage market and already had implemented solar home storage in other countries.

Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas CEO Boris von Bormann says he's not anxious about competition or comparisons to Tesla.

"An energy storage system will allow you to have an electric vehicle and self-produce that electricity for the electric vehicle", von Bormann said in an interview.

For reference, the average US residential home uses 901 kWh of electricity per month, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Deployments of these set-ups totaled 336 megawatt-hours in 2016, double the amount deployed in 2015, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association reported in March.

Last year, Mercedes started a program in Germany that works nearly exactly the same way. The company partnered with utilities and solar companies in Germany to store surplus energy for later use in the home. The largest size would cost about $13,000 fully installed, Bywater said.

Mercedes' batteries are coming to California first.

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