Vivint Solar, Mercedes-Benz in solar-battery tie-up

Posted May 20, 2017

In the coming years, this global market is expected to see aggressive growth, creating many new opportunities for those invested in the solar energy and storage spaces.

Essentially, Mercedes is marrying its residential battery technology, which is based on the same designs that it uses for its electric and hybrid vehicles, with Vivint's existing home solar panel business.

Buyers can scale the system to fit their needs, combining units to build up to a 20-kWh bank. This marks the first storage alliance for Vivint, and the first solar partnership for the USA branch of Mercedes-Benz's energy division, which packages the company's automotive batteries for stationary applications.

For homeowners with solar power, the collaboration will provide them with more control over managing electricity costs and providing backup power if the grid goes down.

It's the first time Vivint Solar will integrate batteries into its future installations.

California will be the first U.S. market where Vivint Solar will offer this new energy storage solution. In Germany as well, Mercedes had collaborated with regional utilities and solar companies to reach their targeted audiences, and now they have joined with Vivint Solar to achieve similar goals in the U.S.

The market for energy storage is small, but growing rapidly as the costs of lithium-ion batteries fall. It will only be on sale through Vivint Solar in Q2, with no word on when the batteries will be available in other states.

Residential storage remains a diminutive market in the USA, accounting for fewer than 1,000 systems deployed a year ago, according to GTM Research.

"As Mercedes-Benz electrifies its vehicle fleet, solar plus storage is essential to enable those vehicles to be powered by clean energy", said Boris von Bormann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas. The battery allows homeowners to store and use energy their solar power systems produce. "We look forward to bringing this innovative solution to consumers, beginning in our California markets, and to empowering greater renewable energy usage".

Parent company Daimler started the energy storage division in 2015 soon after Tesla Energy was launched.

Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler is evidently planning for a future where luxury cars refuel in their own garages. Apart from the EQ brand with a family of vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also developing a holistic ecosystem, which, alongside the vehicle itself, also comprises a comprehensive range of electric mobility-related offerings.

Vivint says that it will begin installations by the end of the quarter - starting in California. The company said that once necessary permits are obtained, installation of complete systems typically takes one or two days.