- ENGIE, Enel X, Tesla, Honeywell, Con Edison Battery Storage, EDF, and NantEnergy were ranked as top leaders in the distributed energy storage integrator sector, according to a report released Wednesday by Guidehouse Insights.
- "The distributed energy storage (DES) market has grown increasingly competitive since 2016, representing significant opportunity," Guidehouse Insights said in its report, which evaluated the strategy and execution of 15 distributed energy storage integrators.
- Greensmith Energy, Lockheed Martin, and AMS rounded out the top 10 ranked companies.
"Key characteristics" of sector leaders is that they're able fill multiple roles at once, Ricardo F. Rodriguez, research analyst with Guidehouse Insights and report author, told Utility Dive, including providing "turnkey solutions," using innovative financing, forecasting future revenue streams and using integrated software platforms.
The top distributed energy storage systems integrators now do fewer standalone integrations or "one-off" projects.
ENGIE, the company atop the leader board, has found success through a mergers and acquisitions strategy, according to Rodriguez. "ENGIE has been able to expand its product offerings through a series of acquisitions that include Green Charge, Op Terra, EV-Box, Ecova, and SoCore."
Tesla has gained ground in the industry not through acquisition, but by developing internal capabilities, according to Rodriguez. Tesla's ecosystem of software includes machine learning capabilities that enable customers to optimize energy storage and use.
Competition in the market has intensified as "the number of cities, states, and businesses committed to carbon reduction goals is swelling and the demand for onsite generation of renewable energy is mounting," according to the report.
Analysts at Guidehouse Insights evaluated players in the DES integration market using 10 criteria: geographic reach; go-to-market strategy; partnerships; pricing; product performance; product portfolio; sales, marketing, and distribution; staying power; technology; and vision.
"The recognition by Guidehouse is a testament to the hard work of the Enel X team around the world and underscores our ability to deliver customized energy solutions that meet the economic and sustainability needs of any customer," Surya Panditi, head of Enel X North America told Utility Dive in an email.
"Enel X has built a portfolio of more than 70 battery storage projects in operation and contracted, all managed by our intelligent DER Optimization Software that maximizes the economic benefit of each system," Panditi said.
Distributed energy storage also is key to load management, an important grid service, according to a trade association leader.
"Distributed energy storage has emerged as an important enabling technology for achieving better integration of clean distributed generation, helping customers manage loads and energy costs, and for providing valuable grid services," Ryan Katofsky, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy told Utility Dive in an email.
"As costs continue to fall and performance improves, we expect its importance to a modern grid will only grow," Katofsky said.
The leaders in the market have moved away from originating and developing distributed energy storage projects, according to the report, and are concentrating on core competencies such as software development, system design, and ongoing system operation and optimization. The role of the integrators has become one of ensuring projects are successfully built and profitable.
By focusing on providing integrated hardware and software solutions, these "pure-play" integrators have become better at optimizing the value of energy storage for different commercial and industrial customers, according to Guidehouse Insights' report.
While Guidehouse Insights looked at DES integrators, market analytics firm Energy Acuity last September released a list of Top Energy Storage Companies for 2019 that included a different set of players. Instead of focusing solely on DES integrators, Energy Acuity's list included battery manufacturers, energy storage technology and service providers, and power generating companies. Fluence, NextEra Energy Resources, BYD Company, Samsung SDI, and Parker Hannifin topped Energy Acuity's list.
"The field is both growing and shrinking as startups emerge with new offerings and companies in the field are acquired by competitors," Rodriguez said.