116MWh sale to fund Powin’s pivot from developer to tech provider

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Image: Powin Energy.

Powin Energy has just sold 116MWh of its project assets and pipeline of future developments to esVolta and made a deal which sees Powin become exclusive supplier to the latter’s projects.

Powin is an energy storage project developer which has delivered or is contracted to deliver significant battery storage projects in strategically important or market-leading regions including California and Canada. In July Powin announced six projects in Ontario with a total capacity of 12.8MW/52.8MWh, just a couple of months after winning a 6.5MW / 26MWh battery energy storage project contract with California utility SDG&E a couple of months earlier.

EsVolta, meanwhile, is a brand new company, so new it has yet to set up a website. The launch has been supported with long-term capital from Blue Sky Alternative Investments, an Australian asset management firm specialising in private equity, private real estate, real assets and hedge fund investments.

Essentially, the sale of the projects and pipeline allows Powin and esVolta to go in opposite strategic directions: Powin representatives said that after several years of focusing on energy storage project development, the company is now keen to switch into a technology provider role. While Powin already makes complete energy storage systems alongside its development role, company president Geoffrey Brown said the sale will allow Powin to focus on a transition away from the project business into “a fully dedicated energy storage systems and services provider”.

Blue Sky wants to ‘drive greater deployment of institutional capital’ into energy storage

Meanwhile, esVolta is using the 116MWh combination of Powin’s completed and scheduled projects as a platform to launch itself as a “developer, owner and operator” of utility-scale energy storage, the company said. Launched by Blue Sky executive Randolph Mann, esVolta will focus on greenfield development and opportunities in North America to make mergers and acquisitions.

In a sweetener for both companies, Oregon-headquartered Powin will be exclusive supplier of battery energy storage systems to esVolta’s projects. Mann said there was “tremendous growth potential” in the North American energy storage market, which Blue Sky/esVolta was keen to capitalise on. Mann’s previous roles include as a development VP at NRG Energy, one of the US’ biggest independent power producers (IPP).

Projects sold include Grand Johanna, a California project built in response to the Aliso Canyon gas leak, a 2MW / 9MWh system contracted to deliver energy and services to utility Southern California Edison, the 6.5MW / 26MWh Don Lee project in Escondido, California for SDG&E. Another ‘key’ project mentioned by Powin in announcing the sale was Powin Energy Ontario Storage, expected to go online by the end of this year, at which point the 8.8MW / 40.8MWh system will be Canada’s largest battery project to date. EsVolta has purchased a 50% stake in that one.

Powin’s product range includes the Stack140 modular battery operating system complete with a patented battery pack operating system – Powin has patented them in China and the US. The DC strings are available in a range from 106kWh to 175kWh, scalable into multi-megawatt applications.

“This transaction is the realization of that plan and will enable the company to focus all of its efforts on delivering the best energy storage systems in the industry to our developer and utility customers. esVolta and Blue Sky’s commitment to developing energy storage projects with Powin Energy’s products is strong validation of our technology and the top-tier team we’ve assembled,” Powin president Geoffrey Brown said.

“We look forward to working with the esVolta team to capitalise on growth opportunities in energy storage, and to drive greater deployment of institutional capital into this important infrastructure sector,” Blue Sky’s US business head Digby Beaumont said. 

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