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Community energy storage developer NineDot gets US$25 million financing from NYSERDA


State-sponsored investment fund NY Green Bank, will lend US$25 million to NineDot Energy, a developer of energy storage systems in New York.

The developer announced last week (20 July) that it has closed the revolving debt facility with NYGB to advance its pipeline of projects in the US state.

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NineDot focuses on distributed “community-scale” battery energy storage system (BESS) projects which provide flexibility to enable electrification and decarbonisation in urban environments, which it said can reduce the need for polluting thermal ‘peaker’ plants.  

NineDot is developing sites of up to 5MW each, with 4-hours duration of energy storage. It said the funding from NYGB, a division of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), would be used to finance grid interconnections of its projects.

An initial 14 sites will benefit from the lending, but NineDot said it could stretch to support around 40 sites of a total 400MW/1,600MWh portfolio the developer wants to bring online by 2026.  

The company said the loan brings its total amount raised to date to US$150 million since its founding in 2015 through the Urban Future Lab at New York University. That included a strategic investment worth more than US$100 million from investment group Carlyle made in August 2022.

NineDot became the first developer to deploy Tesla Megapack battery energy storage system (BESS) solutions in New York last summer, as its 3.08MW/12.32MWh project Gunther went online.

For that project in the Bronx borough of New York City, NineDot picked a “barely used sliver of land,” which was at the ideal intersection of existing energy infrastructure and growing energy demand – a strategy it said it employs for all of its projects.

Gunther includes a solar PV canopy and infrastructure to add bi-directional electric vehicle (EV) charging points – the latter being one of those expected sources of growing demand through electrification. NineDot got a US$1.2 million grant from NYSERDA for that project through NYSERDA’s Retail Energy Storage Incentive Program, set up to incentivise investment in BESS projects of up to 5MW that benefit the New York grid.

At the beginning of last year, NineDot Energy selected energy storage systems and services provider Stem Inc to work on 110MWh of New York projects, including Gunther, which would participate in the state’s Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) programme. Under VDER, distributed energy resources (DER) like battery storage systems are paid higher rates for energy sent to the grid at times when it is most needed.

Meanwhile, although NY Green Bank has provided financing for more than US$2 billion of projects to date, mobilising US$5.5 billion of private investment in the process, and has funded solar and solar-plus-storage projects, the transaction with NineDot marks its first pureplay energy storage investment.

NY Green Bank and NYSERDA are also tasked with supporting the state in getting to a targeted 6GW of energy storage deployments by 2030. This is a key pillar of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for 100% clean electricity by 2040 and full decarbonisation including transport and buildings by 2050.

To support large-scale energy storage systems over 5MW, defined as “bulk storage” in the Energy Storage Roadmap plans co-authored by NYSERDA, tenders are expected to be rolled out from early 2024. At the same time, NYSERDA and other public agencies are seeking to support energy storage at smaller scales, for commercial and community-scale (“retail storage”) and households (“residential storage”).

Our publisher Solar Media is hosting the 10th Solar and Storage Finance USA conference, 7-8 November 2023 at the New Yorker Hotel, New York. Topics ranging from the Inflation Reduction Act to optimising asset revenues, the financing landscape in 2023 and much more will be discussed. See the official site for more details.

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