By Ucilia Wang
March 5, 2015
SunEdison has bought an energy storage developer to expand its reach into an emerging market that will rely partly on the increase of wind and solar energy generation to grow.
SunEdison closed the deal to buy Solar Grid Storage in January, paying an undisclosed sum. The sale of Solar Grid reflects the difficulties of lining up money to develop and build energy storage projects.
Solar Grid was a 2-year-old, angel investor-funded startup when I met its CEO, Tom Leyden, in the fall of 2013. The company specialized in developing projects that combined solar with lithium-ion battery systems, and back then, it had to finance the solar portion separately from the energy storage part. Since large financial institutions weren’t willing to invest in storage, Leyden was raising money from “boutique investors” who demanded 12-15% returns, about twice as much as would be expected from solar projects, he noted then.
“As a small company and a pioneer in what we are doing, it was difficult to attract the financing we needed,” Leyden, who is now the vice president of energy storage development at SunEdison, said in an interview on Wednesday. “We now have a much stronger platform to do what we want to do.” For more information…