Preparing for the Next Storm While Addressing Climate Change

Source: Commercial Property Executive

Electriq Power’s Aric Saunders shares his insights into the evolving energy storage market.

Microgrids and battery storage, once used in remote areas to power off-grid villages, military operations or industrial projects, are now being used in cities and towns, urban centers, university or corporate campuses, hospitals and data centers. They keep the lights on when the power goes out. We wanted to know more about the battery storage industry, so we reached out to Electriq Power and had an in-depth conversation with Aric Saunders, executive vice president of sales & marketing.

Like other iconic Californian firms, Electriq Power started in a garage. This was back in 2014. Tell us more about your journey so far.

Saunders: The company was founded in a garage with two totaled Nissan Leaf cars. Originally, we were looking at creating superchargers using old or abandoned electric vehicle batteries. Like many startups, we pivoted to the residential energy storage market after a few months, still hoping to use recycled batteries.

Unfortunately, at the time, there was very little cost advantage to taking those old batteries and refurbishing them to meet the demands of a residential stationary battery versus an EV battery. Since late 2014, we’ve been focused on creating the best residential energy storage solution through advanced hardware and best-in-class software.

Our early days of tinkering with different inverters and batteries have led us down a path of identifying the best hardware technology on the market while utilizing our software and firmware capabilities. By maximizing value and enhancing user experience, we can offer a solution that not only benefits the homeowner but the utility and grid as a whole.

Energy storage has advanced a long way but is far from reaching its peak. Where are we currently and how do you see things evolving in the energy storage market?

Saunders: Today, energy storage is growing rapidly. We’ve seen eight straight quarters of growth even during the pandemic. In fact, 2020’s second quarter set a record for the most residential energy storage systems deployed in the country. The industry surpassed the $1 billion mark in revenue this year.

Despite these great numbers, most systems are located in only a few markets, mainly California, Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and parts of the Northeast. Most sales are also area-grouped, but we’re gradually seeing broader interest across the country. The Midwest is also rising, we’re now seeing consistent volume throughout the region.