Ice Energy,a provider of distributed thermal energy storage solutions, announced the launch of Solar + Ice which bundles Ice Bear thermal energy storage with rooftop solar PV to deliver the greenest and most cost-effective solar-plus-storage solution for utilities.
The company’s Solar + Ice bundle is available to utilities through long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) that guarantee performance. Ice Energy is partnering with leading solar companies including NRG Energy.
“Solar has proven itself to be a low-cost, reliable and green generation resource, but its intermittent nature has limited its value to the grid,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy. “Until now, the missing piece has been cost-effective and reliable storage. Our new bundle solves the problem.”
The Solar + Ice solution couldn’t come at a better time for California utilities in particular. Legislation signed by Governor Brown last week requires half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030. “Solar + Ice stands ready to help meet state mandates for renewables and federal regulations to come,” said Hopkins.
The Ice Bear used in the Solar + Ice bundle is a behind-the-meter system that attaches to one or more standard 5-20 ton commercial AC units. The Ice Bear freezes water when demand for power is low. Then when the utility desires the capacity, stored ice is dispatched to provide cooling instead of power-intensive AC compressors. Each system is networked and aggregated for dispatch as an entire fleet or as any subset.
Rooftop solar and Ice Bears share many advantages, making them perfect companions:
- Cost-effectiveness – Both solutions are low-cost, with Ice Bear storage almost half the cost of other storage technologies.
- Proven reliability – Both solar and Ice Bears are highly reliable, with the Ice Bear at over 98% availability over more than 30 million operating hours.
- System longevity and durability – Both solutions are designed to last for at least 20 years, with minimal maintenance or downtime.
- Sustainability – Both products are fully recyclable and neither produces hazardous waste byproducts.
- Economic development – Rooftop solar systems and Ice Bears use local engineering and labor, leveraging utility investments to boost the local economy.
“Currently available batteries are expensive, wear out and their chemicals create disposal issues,” Hopkins said. “In contrast, energy storage using ice is the greenest, most cost-effective method to integrate renewables into the grid and is truly worthy of solar.”
Deployments of solar-plus-storage nationwide are expected to jump from 4 megawatts in 2014 to 22 megawatts this year, according to research conducted by Greentech Media. By 2020, the market is projected to be worth $3.1 billion with deployments of 769 megawatts.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.