The Irvine Company and startup Advanced Microgrid Solutions have teamed up in an effort to bring more renewable energy to California. In fact, the team has already put a plan in the works that will involve installing batteries from electric car company Tesla in the office buildings located in the Los Angeles suburb of Irvine.
Building Battery Farms
According to plans recently announced by The Irvine Company and Advanced Microgrid Solutions, there will soon be large battery farms located in Irvine. Each of these farms will be about the size of five parking spaces, with the buildings connected to the farms having the ability to switch to battery power when electricity demand is high on the power grid. This switch will be easily made with the help of special software that will recognize when the switch needs to be made, such as on hot summer afternoons when air conditioners are running on high. Not only will this offer a renewable source of energy, but it will also help to take stress off of the power grid during peak times.
As part of the first phase of the new deal, Advanced Microgrid Solutions will install Tesla batteries in 24 of its buildings. These batteries will lower peak electricity demand on the power grid by an estimated 25 percent.
Working with Local Utility Companies
As part of the new plan to utilize Tesla batteries to power buildings, Advanced Microgrid Solutions will work with Southern California Edison to provide the equivalent of 50 megawatt of battery systems. Ten megawatts is enough to bring power to approximately 10,000 homes. With only 220 megawatts worth of batteries currently planned for installation throughout the country this year, California will be well ahead of the game. In fact, Southern California Edison plans to install 250 megawatts of batteries throughout the state within the next few years.
For utility companies, utilizing batteries to supplement power helps to make the grid more stable while also avoiding the burden of building new power plants that are only needed during peak times. It also helps California utility companies meet state requirements to collectively install over a gigawatt of energy storage, which is equivalent to a large nuclear or natural gas plant, by 2020.
For building owners, utilizing the batteries also represents a monetary savings. When electricity rates from the power grid are on the rise, they can choose to use battery power instead. By periodically switching to battery power, building owners can potentially see a significant savings in their monthly energy bill.
Homeowners who are interested in utilizing the Tesla batteries will be happy to know that the company created a new energy division in May. This division was designed to sell lithium-ion batteries to utilities, project developers and home owners. The smaller home battery systems utilize Powerwall batteries, while buildings and utilities utilize Powerpack batteries. Other companies, including Stem, AES, Green Charge Networks, Greensmith Energy and GE are also moving forward with innovative plans to create energy with batteries.
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