S&C Electric to exit storage business
- After more than a decade producing storage systems, such as invertors, S&C Electric will exit the storage development business to focus on microgrids, Greentech Media reports.
- S&C deployed its first battery system in 2006. But since thenthe rate and volume of battery production in the industry has skyrocketed, and the company says that kind of volume was never its strong suit.
- The company focuses on microgrid development and smart switching components, saying last year it helped utilities avoid more than 2.4 billion customer-outage minutes. Outages are significant expense for United States consumers, but particularly for the industrial and commercial sectors, according to research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
With utility-scale energy storage rapidly growing, battery production is trending in the direction of Tesla and its Gigafactory. The company has plans to produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells — a volume the company boasts is almost as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.
"That high-volume manufacturing game has never really been what S&C is great at," David Chiesa, senior director of business development at S&C, told GTM.
Instead, S&C will focus on smart grid products and microgrid projects. The company is particularly interested in reducing power outages, which Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates cost the U.S. economy approximately $79 billion a year. And the overwhelming portion of that, 98%, affects commercial and industrial customers.
Mike Edmonds, president of S&C's U.S. business, said in an announcement last week that 2017 "shined a spotlight on the impact power outages have on customers of all sizes."
S&C surveyed more than 250 energy managers for its “State of Commercial & Industrial Power Reliability” report, and found 25% of companies experience power outages at least once a month. S&C's research also showed 71% of commercial and industrial customers own or plan to develop alternative energy sources.
Correction: A previous version of this article said S&C Electric manufactured batteries.
- Greentech Media S&C Electric Leaves the Energy Storage Production Business
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter