A Millbrae startup focusing on helping businesses lower energy costs by balancing the power grid with batteries charged during cheaper non-peak hours just received $15 million in funding that will assist it to expand its operations.
Stem, an energy storage company on Rollins Road, announced an investment from General Electric and the Spanish renewable energy company Iberdrola in early December. It also named John Carrington its new chief executive officer late last week.
It is a developer of an integrated cloud energy optimization, which leverages real-time data, cloud-based predictive analytics and energy storage to help businesses optimize energy use. The business was founded by a group of people who realized there were inefficiencies in the utilities space, Carrington said.
“Stem is at the forefront of bringing intelligence to the edge of the grid through its software-driven approach to energy storage,” he said. “With strong demand among commercial and utility customers, I’m excited to join Stem to build on this momentum and accelerate our market expansion.”
Buildings are put on energy systems, which use the utilities’ grid and a lithium ion battery. Stem integrates data from various sources to provide energy usage forecasts. Energy flows to batteries when power is cheap and stores it there. It then releases the energy for use during higher, and pricier, usage hours. Carrington said the technology can help customers lower their energy costs. The business has been around since 2009.
“It (the product) learns buildings and observes weather to take you off the grid, so you don’t get peak demand time charges,” he said. “From the utilities’ standpoint, it helps them with their congestion issues.”
Carrington got onboard with the company after deciding to hunt for a company with a nexus of technology and energy interests. Prior to joining Stem, he was chief executive officer at MiaSole, a solar company with more than $550 million of investment. He executed the sale of MiaSole to Hanergy in December 2012. Previously, Carrington was executive vice president of marketing and business development at San Francisco-based First Solar.
A lot of the new funding is going toward growth, Carrington said.
“We expect to hire 20 percent more employees and to expand into other markets such as Southern California, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York,” he said. “[The funding is] a big statement and a vote of confidence in our technology.”
Carrington said there’s a tremendous opportunity for Stem since it has such compelling technology. It also is good because it doesn’t impede upon utility company’s core goals.
“We look forward to a lot of growth in 2014,” he said.
Stem’s current CEO, Salim Khan, will remain with the company until Dec. 31 to assist in transitioning his responsibilities to Carrington.
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