Silicon Valley startup signs 1 MW of intelligent storage

Green Charge Networks (GCN) is celebrating the achievement of reaching the 1 MW mark in energy storage agreements across the United States.

Since its launch in 2009, GCN has signed deals for 1 MW of energy storage with retail customers and municipalities that are seeking to reduce their electricity bills through smart grid technologies.

The California-based company says its GreenStation technology uses utility and weather data to predict peak use and store energy accordingly, thus reducing so-called "demand charges" and saving significant costs for businesses that can reach thousands of dollars. Many businesses in California and New York City, GCN points out, pay 40% or more of their monthly electric bill in demand charges based on their peak electricity use.

The company’s commercial clients include the 7­-Eleven convenience store chain, which has employed GCN’s GreenStation for the past two years. In one example offered by the company, a 7-Eleven GreenStation in New York endured Hurricane Sandy and then went on to save the business 56% on its electricity bills during the 2013 summer heat wave.

Green Charge Networks’ list of customers has continued to grow and also includes drugstore chain Walgreens, office buildings, community colleges and municipalities. The U.S. Department of Energy has listed the company and its diverse projects on its Global Energy Storage Database.

"It is a big accomplishment for our company to help businesses and local governments use power more efficiently," said Green Charge Networks CEO Vic Shao. "1 MW marks a very significant milestone for Green Charge Networks as we continue to diversify our customer base and increase our penetration in the rapidly growing intelligent energy storage market. Energy efficiency initiatives can only take us so far. The era of power efficiency using advanced software is the next frontier in energy savings."

The company adds that the U.S.’ aging grid is in need of an update. "Not only can smart grid technologies like GreenStation save businesses thousands of dollars on their electricity bills, they are also an important tool in both climate change adaptation and mitigation," the company said, adding that the GreenStation was designed to withstand "storms as fierce as Hurricane Sandy or temperatures as extreme as the recent polar vortex.

"The combination of an aging utility grid and increasing storms due to climate change is a deadly mix. Between 2003 and 2012, the U.S. experienced 679 major weather related outages, including seven of the 10 costliest storms in U.S. history," the company added, citing a White House Report. "GCN’s GreenStation energy storage technology helps businesses regulate their energy use so that even during extreme weather events they don’t pay special ‘demand’ charges for peak energy use."

The company estimates that the implementations of smart grid technologies like GreenStation could save the energy equivalent of 4,000 coal plants per year nationally.