SunEdison Adds Batteries to Its Arsenal with Acquisition of Solar Grid Storage

Meg Cichon The renewable energy market has been slowly strengthening ties with energy storage, and it now seems to be tying a secure knot. Wind and solar developer SunEdison (SUNE) announced today that it bought the energy storage team, projects and 100-MW pipeline of Pennsylvania-based Solar Grid Storage (SGS). SunEdison is now able to offer integrated battery storage solutions for its renewable energy project portfolio, and delve into an energy storage market that is set to grow 250 percent in 2015, according to a new report from the Energy Storage Association and GTM Research. The solar plus battery...

Tesla Vs. Hydrogen

By Jeff Siegel One of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams may soon be coming to fruition. During his time as governor, while singing the praises of renewable energy progress in the Golden State, the Terminator would often tell tree-hugging Californians about his dream of building a hydrogen highway that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to run from Mexico to Canada  via California. Not only did Prius drivers and vegans applaud the governor's dream, but it even got a decent amount of support from former GM Chairman Bob Lutz and President George W. Bush. Since that time, California has managed to build...

Making Hydrogen From Ethanol

by Debra Fiakas CFA Cars powered by fuel cells or batteries are only as clean as the electricity used to produce the power source.  Proponents of hydrogen fuel cells argue that fuel cells have an edge over batteries, because hydrogen can ultimately be made cleaner with innovations in hydrogen production.  Steam reforming of natural gas is the most common source of hydrogen and for the most part it is still the most cost-effective process for large-scale production of hydrogen.  Since ethanol is a renewable resource, the steam reforming of ethanol has been proposed by some as...

Ballard Terminates Azure Hydrogen Licenses; Can It Find A Better China Partner?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Before the open of the first trading day of 2015, fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems (BLDP:  Nasdaq) announced the termination of technology licenses to Azure Hydrogen, which was to have been Ballard’s introduction to the China market. The license agreements covered the sale of Ballard’s bus power module and telecom backup power system.  Ballard has charged Azure with breaching the agreements and the two companies have apparently not been able to come to alternative terms.  Azure had made sales in the China and not all of the equipment had been paid. ...

Charging Your Portfolio With Tesla’s Gigafactory

By Jeff Siegel Last week, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) announced that its next electric offering a competitively priced electric vehicle will hit the market in 2017. Dubbed the Model III, the 200-mile-range electric vehicle will go for $35,000. Certainly this was big news for electric car enthusiasts particularly those who can't afford an $85,000 Model S but yearn to drive one. But if you regularly follow trends in the electric vehicle space, at least the way I do, you know Tesla's announcement was just one of many big moves in the space over the...

The Story Is Storage

by Joseph McCabe, PE Walking into the 2014 Intersolar North America San Francisco exhibit it became apparent there was a story embedded in the products and services displayed on the three different floors of the Moscone Center West. The third floor of the exhibits was dominated by PV structure companies which have entered into a competitive blood bath since our last report. Dominating the first floor were Chinese PV manufacturers Jinko Solar (NYSE: JKS), Canadian Solar (NYSE: CSIQ), Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) and Yingli (NYSE: YGE) all sharing the center exhibit space. Although Chinese solar...

Don’t Bet Against SolarCity

By Jeff Siegel DISCLOSURE: Long SCTY. It wasn't an April Fool's Day gag when I said it was time to buy SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) at the beginning of the month. After a brief standstill, the company's battery-backed solar projects have begun to move forward again. The State of California Public Utilities Commission has added an important item to its May 15 agenda that will make a huge difference for SolarCity. Utility companies may finally be blocked from imposing big fees on battery-backed solar systems. For more than a year, California's largest utilities companies demanded...

Investors Push The Hydrogenics Reset Button

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week shares of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS:  Nasdaq) took a steep dip down.  Earlier in the week the company filed a shelf registration statement to raise up to $100 million in new capital over the next two years.  Then before the last day of trading began the company issued new guidance for the year 2014, suggesting weaker sales in the first quarter than previously expected but reaffirming expectations for the full year. The statement replaced an earlier shelf registration statement for a $25 million capital raise.    The filing came as no surprise to...

Turning Conventional Battery Tech into Unconventional Profits

by Debra Fiakas CFA Near the end of February 2014, Highpower International (HPJ:  Nasdaq) announced its first order for large-format lithium ion batteries to use in electric vehicles. Its customer, Huizhou Yipeng Energy Technology will be integrating the batteries into buses destined for the sales outlets of China-based manufacturers. The boost in sales for Highpower is likely to be meaningful.  Management estimates each bus will use as many as 288 of the company’s 20-ampere-hour battery.  Guidance for annual sales from Huizhou Yipeng alone is in a range of $4 million to $5 million.  In the most...

Tesla’s Gigafactory: Guessing Games

James Montgomery Tesla Motors (NASD:TSLA) made a splash last week with its proposed $5 billion "Gigafactory" and its eye-popping numbers: a 10 million square foot facility on an entire land area of 500-1,000 acres, with output of 35 GWh/year of battery cells and 50 GWh/year of battery packs by 2020. That'll be enough to support 500,000 of the company's forthcoming Gen-3 vehicles, compared with a little over 20,000 annual demand for its cars today. By comparison, the entire lithium-ion battery supply-chain produced about 34 GWh in 2013, the vast amount going not to electric vehicles but consumer electronics....

NY Working Hard to Catch Up with CA’s Energy Storage Requirements

Bill Radvak Battery storage is gaining more and more traction in the distributed energy resources community.  Last fall, California passed the first statewide energy storage directive in the United States. Issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the mandate requires all investor-owned utilities in the state including Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric, to jointly purchase “1325 megawatts of energy storage” by 2020. “The proposed targets increase between 30% and 55% every two years, creating economic incentives for multiple players with various technologies to enter the market reports Energy...

Twelve Hydrogen And Fuel Cell Stocks

Tom Konrad CFA While many people think first about hydrogen when they think of fuel cells, fuel cells are not limited to hydrogen.  They are a set of related technologies, many of which can generate electricity from a number of hydrocarbon fuels rather than hydrogen.  I limited my recent post on the rapid rise of hydrogen stocks to just US-listed companies involved in the production and use of hydrogen, leaving out foreign stocks and other fuel cell technologies for brevity. In my research for that article, however, I came across fully ten publicly traded companies involved with...

Hydrogen Stocks More Than Double In 2013: Why The Pros Missed The Ride

Tom Konrad CFA Hydrogen Photo via BigStock If you hadn’t noticed that hydrogen stocks are up an average of 131% so far this year, you’re not alone. Both hydrogen fuel cell stocks and hydrogen fuel systems stocks are up strongly.  Plug Power (NASD:PLUG), a maker of hydrogen fuel cell systems for off-road vehicles is up 122% year to date.  Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (NASD:BLDP), which makes hydrogen fuel systems for a wide variety of applications is up 133% so far this year, and 149% from its...

Axion Power: Improving on the Conventional

by Debra Fiakas CFA While the rest of the battery industry is trying to perfect new technologies, Axion Power International (AXPW:  OTC/QB) has been working on a fix for conventional lead acid batteries.   Low cost made the lead acid batteries popular even from the early days when a French scientist first introduced the configuration in the mid 1800s.  Lead-acid technologies represent about half of batteries made today.  Unfortunately, lead-acid batteries have low energy-to-weight and volume.  Storage times are limited.  They also have corrosion problems.  The active materials in lead-acid batteries change physical form during charge...

Can ZBB Grab a Piece of the Energy Storage Pie?

by Debra Fiakas CFA There are a lot of different technologies in the energy storage space.  ZBB Energy (ZBB:  NYSE) has staked its future on zinc bromide.  Batteries using zinc-bromide consist of a zinc negative electrode and a bromine positive electrode with a porous separator in between them.  Unlike conventional batteries, these electrodes do not take part in the reactions but merely serve as substrates for the energy reactions.  Thus there is no loss of performance from repeated cycling causing electrode material deterioration.  The zinc-bromine battery can provide two to three times the energy density...

Metal-Air Battery Stocks

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this year, we added metal air batteries and the companies who are working to commercialize the technology on our list of promising acts to follow.  The Israeli battery developer, Phinergy, was added to our Mothers of Invention Index.  Back when I wrote the post “More in the Air than Spring” back in April 2013, Phinergy had attracted a bit of attention for a road test of Citroen C1 car outfitted with a technology far different than conventional lithium ion.  No one knows Phinergy.  It is too small and too foreign to impress...