Mercedes-Benz bringing home battery storage to California

Joan Terry
May 19, 2017

This will also be Mercedes-Benz Energy's first collaboration with a USA solar provider, bringing its premium, high-performance, road-tested technology for home use to the residential battery market.

Residential storage remains a diminutive market in the US, accounting for fewer than 1,000 systems deployed a year ago, according to GTM Research.

So Vivint started looking for partners and Mercedes-Benz seemed like a logical fit.

Boris von Bormann, chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, said the combination will allow customers "to take the next step toward a sustainable energy future".

For solar companies, battery storage may provide a lift in a market whose dizzying pace of growth has suddenly slowed, especially for leading installers like SolarCity and Vivint, which both reduced their installation estimates amid corporate upheaval, and Sungevity, which went bankrupt.

"It solves a great problem and need for our customers, where they'll produce power during the day, and now they can consume it in the evening hours", David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, said in an interview.

The number-two solar installer, Sunrun, partnered with LG Chem to create its BrightBox hybrid offering, which went on sale in Hawaii and California past year.

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But the news also comes at a time when some indicators have suggested slowdowns in the solar power business.

It will sell customers the systems outright or finance the purchase.

Now that A to Z process will also include storage.

The systems will vary in capacity. Mercedes' home batteries, on the other hand, have a smaller capacity of 2.5kWh, and customers can scale a total of eight of them for a more modest 20kWh. "In most cases we try to size it so the battery can take you through the night", Bormann said. With solar panels charging the batteries, owners won't have to worry about racking up high utility bills or overloading the electric grid.

"We're looking at. the whole ecosystem that a future electric vehicle driver will experience", he said. 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. For Vivint and Mercedes, what sets them apart is their consistency and dependability. "It's really a mature company that will be there - and will be there for the foreseeable future". Offering integrated residential solar solutions for the entire customer lifecycle, Vivint Solar designs, installs, monitors and services the solar energy systems for its customers. The batteries are covered under a 10-year warranty.

The batteries are already in use overseas, and are manufactured at a Daimler factory in Germany. Of course, Mercedes-Benz is keen to point out its batteries are thoroughly tested-identical automotive-grade battery technology is used in its electric and hybrid vehicles-and are backed up by the same German engineering that has defined the brand for years.

Other reports by BadHub

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