Storing Solar Power in Ice

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Ice Energy's Ice Bear energy storage system

Ice Energy, a leading provider of smart-grid enabled, advanced energy storage solutions to the electric utility industry, will work with SunPower Corp. on a unique pilot project funded by the California Public Utilities Commission that will combine its Ice Bear energy storage technology with SunPower’s photovoltaic solar systems.

The project, part of the California Solar Initiative’s Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration Program, seeks to demonstrate the economic and operational benefits of integrating advanced energy storage systems with existing PV systems for peak demand reduction directly on commercial buildings. Ice Energy is one of three energy storage companies selected to participate in the program, which will be implemented by SunPower in conjunction with PG&E, KEMA, Sandia National Laboratories, and a major national retailer.

“Think of it as sun + ice + wind,” said Greg Tropsa, executive vice president and co-founder of Ice Energy. “All three of these technologies have the potential to be more valuable together than any single one of them alone, and that’s what this project sets out to demonstrate.”

“As the sun begins to set in the afternoon, the Ice Bear units will deliver stored energy to bridge the gap between increasing building electrical demand and decreasing solar energy production,” Tropsa explained. “The project will demonstrate that the combination of solar and ice storage will significantly reduce a building’s peak demand charge, saving money for the consumer and helping the environment by reducing the need for utilities to dispatch fossil fuel-fired peaking generators. The bonus is the Ice Bear storage units are recharged during the off-peak hours, absorbing wind and surplus low cost base load generation.”

The goal of the CPUC California Solar Initiative (CSI) is to create 1,940 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2016, moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping to lower the cost of solar systems for consumers. The CSI RD&D program provides grants to fund solar research and demonstration projects that will measurably reduce the cost and accelerate the adoption of solar, or other distributed technologies, such as storage, that could employ solar, for alternative generation, and reduce the use of natural gas and other fossil-fuel generation.

Ice Energy is a leading provider of advanced energy storage and smart grid solutions to the electric utility industry. Founded in 2003, the company is dedicated to transforming energy system efficiency and improving grid reliability through the development of advanced technology solutions that promote the efficient use of energy resources, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and enable the transition to a cleaner, smarter, more sustainable power grid. The company is headquartered in Windsor, Colorado, with offices in Orange County and Sacramento, California.

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