SunPower ramps up energy storage plans

The solar company's plans to roll out an energy storage product marks a shift within the industry to offer more services.
Written by Kirsten Korosec, Contributor

A little more than a year ago, SunPower circled the wagons--shutting down its 125-megawatt capacity plant in the Philippines and cutting costs elsewhere--all in an effort to ride out stormy market conditions that had already taken out dozens of solar companies.

Today, the solar company announced plans to introduce an entirely new product in a bid to expand its share of the rooftop solar market. SunPower plans to roll out its first energy storage product, possibly lithium-ion batteries, reported Gigaom, which covered the company's analyst day. SunPower execs didn't share details of its plan.

As Gigaom notes, SunPower has delved into energy storage before, carrying out pilot projects and working with different technologies.

The move illustrates a shift within the power industry, specifically renewables, to offer a suite of products, including energy storage in a bid to distribute risk and become more competitive.

SolarCity and SunEdison are among a growing number of solar companies dipping their toe in the energy storage market. SolarCity teamed up with Tesla Motors last year to combine batteries with solar energy systems.

Meanwhile, Japan is spending $204 million to install a 60-megawatt battery to store solar electricity at a utility substation.

Other companies are reinventing themselves and jumping into the energy storage biz. Electric car startup Coda Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and announced it will restructure its business around energy storage, not electric cars.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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