SunPower to offer commercial energy storage solution in Australia in 2015

Commercial energy storage systems could hit the Australian market as soon as next year, according to leading US solar company SunPower.

SunPower, one of the world’s biggest PV module manufacturers and developers of rooftop and utility-scale solar, has flagged the introduction of battery storage into Australia’s commercial market in 2015, as it looks to rapidly expand its suite of home energy service offerings.

The California-based company has been working on a residential battery storage project in Australia, which it has indicated could become a template for its energy service models around the world. Few details of the project have been revealed to date, but on Friday the company indicated it was going well and could be expanded to the commercial market within the next 12 months.

“In Australia, our residential storage pilot is going well, and we expect to expand storage to the commercial channel in this market next year,” President and CEO Tom Werner told analysts in a conference call accompanying the second quarter results.

In the US, SunPower has already struck an agreement with KB Homes to have solar installed in new homes, and is considering expanding this to include storage. Werner has said in the past that SunPower would focus on the “home energy services” market, taking his company beyond a mere supplier of modules to providing services within the home.

This is considered to be an even bigger existential threat to incumbent business models than the mere arrival of renewable energy technologies.

Meanwhile, SunPower has confirmed it has been contracted to design and build the 3.1MW expansion of Epuron’s Uterne solar power station in Alice Springs, a job that will effectively quadruple the size of the PV tracking plant, from 1MW to 4.1MW.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson