These are some of the headlines we come across leafing through any daily, where individuals, political organizations, and governments promise to pave the way for a sustainable future.
However, is it happening fast enough?
When the Paris Climate Change was held on 12 December 2015, leaders of 197 progressive countries unanimously decided to adopt eco-friendly methods. Since then, innumerable developments have taken place to harness and maximize the benefits from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric power to positively impact the environment.
While attempts are still underway to discover other options, a relatively recent and noteworthy advancement is the ability to store solar energy economically and efficiently in batteries, thus enabling energy produced by solar to be used day or night. However, despite these progressive steps, environmental, safety, and efficiency challenges associated with producing, storing, and distributing electricity remain. A vast majority of the electricity still comes from thermal and nuclear power plants, which generate many toxic byproducts and disrupt the ecological balance. The transmission lines from the power plants to the distribution areas often pass-through forest and agricultural land, further deteriorating the environment.
In this landscape, industry stalwart Everett Brewer, CEO of Storz Power, believes that technology plays a key role in overcoming renewable energy challenges because it can enable the decentralization of renewable generation sources as well as increase the efficiency, safety, and flexibility of these energy sources. Brewer explains that integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and associated technology platforms with conventional industry practices will help design software that can manage, in real time, the decentralized energy sources to optimize the use of the energy produced and then send any excess electricity to the grid. Utilities can then direct that power to where it’s most needed.
The challenge is how to build software that can constantly enable such capabilities amid the rapid and ever-evolving hardware realm. “Build a smarter battery with a focus on sustainability, not just a bigger battery,” answers Brewer.
During the past several years, Brewer witnessed the energy variability and inconsistencies associated with solar panels. Solar energy production and availability is directly dependent on the amount of sunlight available— something that is problematic at night or on rainy or cloudy days; therefore, Brewer understood the challenges experienced by families relying on solar panels to keep their appliances running throughout the day. The use of renewable energy alternatives at homes pressed hard on the underlying costs and even posed a threat in terms of security. Creating solutions that promise greater consistency, savings, and convenience while harnessing the positives of renewable energy resources became Storz Power’s first priority. “We realized that shifting the focus to areas where we have the technologies and abilities to make a significant impact for people by addressing the variabilities and other challenges associated with renewable energy production and also address the headaches associated with utilities– like demand charges, load requirements, improper billing, changing utility rates, and many others—would enable us to create the greatest value for customers and support their backup goals to protect their homes and their families,” says Brewer, Founder and CEO of Storz Power. Storz Power products reduce the burden on the earth’s natural resources, produces zero emissions, and harnesses the power from the sun to generate and store energy.
How did Storz Power conceive the idea of blending AI into energy storage?
Let’s rewind eight years when the company entered the energy storage space as clients. Around this time, Storz Power observed first-hand the growth and gaps in the energy sector and how technology brought in a gradual paradigm shift. After recognizing that technology had the potential to enable dramatic improvements in the cost and efficiency of energy usage and storage, Storz Power began developing technologies that would address the challenges associated with the renewable energy industry. The central idea was to develop and aggregate technologies that create intelligent solutions which enhance energy storage and sustainability.
Today, taking the same idea forward, Storz Power is leveraging AI-enabled batteries, inverters, and other micro-grid components and technologies to optimize sustainable energy resources to provide economic, efficient and environmentally friendly solutions. Storz Power AI+ products enable homeowners to gain greater control over how they want to power their home. “At first, we were the client, then we became the teacher, and finally, we are now the implementers,” remarks Brewer. Unlike the conventional battery models that have inherent barriers to entry for the average homeowner, the Storz Power AI+ platform enables consumers to afford solutions that assure them of power. In addition, the state-of-the-art solution also minimizes users’ dependence on the grid and reduces their energy usage of the power grid. In essence, Storz Power manages the energy usage automatically in real-time by deploying a learning algorithm where it gets smarter with every use and manages the energy better using AI on and off the grid.
We realized that shifting the focus to areas where we have the technologies and abilities to make a significant impact for people by addressing the variabilities and other challenges associated with renewable energy production and also address the headaches associated with utilities– like demand charges, load requirements, improper billing, changing utility rates, and many others—would enable us to create the greatest value for customers and support their backup goals to protect their homes and their families
Sustainability is the Key
At its core, Storz Power is driven to empower people to do more with less. Instead of embracing the legacy processes that call for property owners to make large investments to stack enough systems to meet their stored energy requirements, Storz Power’s AI+ suite of products enables greater energy performance and management at a lower cost. Storz Power’s AI+ technology is focused on protecting energy storage assets and extending their useful life. Typically, Storz Power reduces system costs because of the ability to control the power, with fewer batteries in comparison to other products on the market that would otherwise require purchasing more or bigger inverters and batteries to achieve the same goal. Storz Power’s AI+ technology continually reduces energy usage peaks in real-time and better manages where energy is needed, thus reducing overall energy consumption.
A thorough analysis of customer’s energy load profiles provides vital real-time data of their energy usage profiles. This includes detailed energy profiles for the major contributors to high energy peaks such as mechanical equipment, HVAC, refrigeration, lighting, and the like.
With the ability to “Measure, Verify, Optimize, Automate, and Control” the constant flow of energy from appliances to equipment and organizing the data, AI+ educates customers about the inconsistencies and highlights the areas that need to be improved. Ultimately, Storz Power’s AI+ technology benefits customers by demonstrating how its AI+ enabled products reduce energy spikes and overall usage. With this approach, Storz Power fuels its “reduce before you produce” initiative. This reduces budget requirements for both capital expenditures and usage of square footage / real estate for any amount of energy supply. In short, by simply reducing the peaks, Storz Power makes it more affordable for people to access their entire home in a sustainable, safe, and secure manner.
Technology to the Rescue
Brewer points out that the current idea of smart homes is a bit misleading when viewed from a technological standpoint. “When the average person thinks about making their home a smart home, they typically think of purchasing and installing smart thermostats/lights/ switches and operating them while sitting in some comfortable corner,” quips the CEO. However, this limits the meaning of a smart home to simply managing devices remotely or on a “schedule.”
Storz Power AI+ enables energy systems to collaborate in real-time to measure, verify, optimize, automate, and control utility usage. Eradicating the chances of erroneous energy-usage calculations, AI+ deploys a learning algorithm to extract data from appliances at the time of their use. The information gathered is then used to create concise reports to help property owners gain detailed insights on when, where, and how the smart devices are needed to be used. Brewer highlights that based on these reports, homeowners can accurately plan their energy utilization and even tackle any issue of power loss easily from their fingertips. Thus, Storz Power’s smart and dynamic AI+ technology helps to assure a sustainable society by providing a steady supply of energy.
In essence, AI+ technology comes across as a smart, dynamic, and independent offering from Storz Power.
The solution completely removes the need for the human element and streamlines all the connected electrical components of a home on its own. By constantly measuring the equipment, the AI+ technology automatically finds ways to reduce the financial liabilities associated with connecting to the utility company. Thereby, the Storz Power AI+ allows customers to forecast energy allocation based on available energy and upcoming energy production, which positively impacts their pocketbook and security.
Installing into a home is simple. Storz Power systems can retro fit to existing energy systems (AC coupled) or install new energy systems (DC coupled). Storz Power is solar and generator ready. Every energy system has energy loss due to converting power from DC to AC or vice versa. Storz Power significantly minimizes these energy losses, which reduces the overall cost, increases efficiency, and ultimately leads to having more power to use.
Safety is a priority for Storz Power. The Storz Power battery is made with Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LFP), which is one of the safest battery storage chemistries in the world today. The battery is UL certified with ETL/ Intertek– which required rigorous testing.
On a more granular level, the battery stacking range in energy capacity is from 5.12 kWh to 860.16 kWh, which translates to the ability to fully power an average-sized home from 11 hours to as many as 25 days. To that end, AI+ is available in five different technology packages with progressively greater capacity and flexibility.
In the next five years, we aim to cut down the usage of lithium and be able to cut down battery dependency by almost 30 percent
Storz Power AI+ Packages
To begin with, the AI+ 30A Plus comes with two batteries (10.24 kWh) and one 5K inverter (2.5-6.5 kW PV). The AI+ 30A Plus provides fundamental security for small homes. It can power a refrigerator, select lights, internet router, and fans. Connect to specific breakers (hard-wired) of up to 30 amps.
The AI+ 50A package acts as the perfect power source for home appliances such as a refrigerator, microwave, lights throughout, garage door, internet router, and fans. When the power goes out and you need to go somewhere, it is nice to be able to open your garage. It comes with two batteries and one 12K inverter that provides a total of 10.24 kWh and supports 2.5-13 kW PV energy. AI+ 50A lets users power their essentials in events of blackout or emergency and can connect to specific breakers (hard-wired) of up to 50 amps.
Next under its hood is the AI+ 70A Smart Access package that not only allows property owners to charge their basics but also gives them the freedom to add smart relays (up to 70 amps of power) and choose where to use the home power in real-time. Embedded with three batteries (15.36 kWh total), one inverter (2.5-13 kW PV), and one Smart Access Controller. This robust solution provides smart access for up to 70 amperes of critical load. The AI+ 70A Smart Access package lets customers increase the number of circuits / breakers that they can control in addition to the appliances that the AI+ 50A package can support. The embedded AI+ Smart Access technology automatically drops bigger loads during times of power shortages to ensure the continuous supply of electricity.
Yet another stellar product from Storz Power is the AI+ 200A Smart Access package that provides users with Smart Access to their entire 200 amp main panel and makes room for homeowners to choose areas where power is needed in real-time. With four batteries (20.48 kWh total), one inverter (2.5-13 kW PV), one Smart Access Controller, and one AI+ Smart Switch, the AI+ 200A Smart Access package can connect up to 200 amps of power to the homeowner’s breaker panel. The AI+ 70A Smart Access package solution sheds excess loads at 10 percent of the cost due to the Smart Access Controller included, thereby reducing the number of batteries needed. Precisely, the AI+ 200A Smart Access package reduces the use of raw materials needed to build batteries and acts as the next step towards building a sustainable environment.
Rounding off its product suite is the AI+ Custom Whole Home solution that enables homeowners to customize the AI+ package to power all their main panels up to as many amps needed continuously for a blackout/ off-grid living. This solution begins with 4 batteries (20.48+ kWh), 2 inverters (5-26+ kW PV), 1+ Smart Access Controller(s), and one AI+ Smart Switch. This customizable package can support exceptionally large homes and buildings because of the expandable nature of Storz Power AI+ products. Stack anywhere between 1 to 12 - 12K inverters per home (50-600 amps), stack up to 14 Storz Power batteries in parallel per inverter (5.12 kWh – 71.68 kWh), and stack as many Smart Access Controllers as needed—each Smart Access Controller controls up to 12 breakers. The AI+ Custom Whole Home package is exactly that, custom. It allows one to grab products individually and mix-and-match them to achieve the desired energy coverage for one’s home. It is the one-stop off-grid solution for properties totaling as much as 50,000 square feet.
Moving the Needle Using Storz Power AI+ Technology Solutions
Along its journey so far, Storz Power has infused AI+ to add unique dimensions to clients’ value propositions. Brewer recalls one such instance where the company helped a reputable corporation solve their energy inefficiencies. Prior to Storz Power, the client paid power rates between 1pm to 5pm to its already existing solar energy provider. The time setting helped the firm to ensure considerable cost savings since their peak operating hours began after 4pm. However, the scenario soon changed when the solar provider shifted the higher rate time frame from 4pm and made it between 4pm and 10pm. “Since it coincided with the client’s peak energy consumption periods of time, their energy costs went through the roof,” remarks Everett.
In what was a true validation of success, the company started incorporating its AI+ technology suite into the client infrastructure, enabling them to draw power during low-cost periods before 4pm and store the energy in batteries for use during high-cost periods. Even if excess energy was stored, Storz Power made it so that it could be discharged during high-rate hours, thus adding to the cost savings. “Not only did we absorb the almost 21 percent increase in their cost of energy, but we also reduced their payback by more than two years by leveraging a combination of technologies and data made available to enable our sustainable energy approach,” points out Brewer. “To summarize, we delivered significantly improved outcomes by enhancing performance and lowering the cost of capital, which benefits the client to this day.”
This is but one of the many success stories that Storz Power has delivered over the years. With innovation forming its DNA, the Utah based firm looks forward to further bolstering its software capabilities. The company aims to stay dynamic through different technology innovations and upgrades. It continually seeks opportunities to create products using improved technologies that enable customers to “do more with less.” To this end, the Utah based firm is working hard towards taking a blended approach in reducing the waste of materials and ensuring proper utilization of real assets. “In the next five years, we aim to cut down the usage of lithium and be able to cut down battery dependency by almost 30 percent,” states Brewer. In this regard, Storz Power is leaving no stone unturned as it seeks to perfectly align itself with the future renewable energy market.