Private-equity firm spends more than $100 million on segregated investments as it expands market for massive electricity storage
The investments are notable as both companies are in their infancy. NineDot plans to complete its first New York City battery installation in May and, while Fermata has ties with carmakers, relatively few vehicles currently use its products.
NineDot’s projects qualify for government subsidies and contribute to New York State’s plan to build electricity storage so it can reach the 100% clean-energy goal by 2040. Governments are increasingly focusing on batteries as the wind and sun that produce the most renewable energy are intermittent, vulnerable to shortages of power grids.
“Energy storage is extremely valuable for the grid of the future because it provides reliability benefits,” said Doreen Harris, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “We know we need more storage than we have.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this month that the state would double its 2030 energy storage target to 6,000 megawatts. A NYSERDA spokesperson said 130 MW of energy storage in the state is currently operational and has 1,240 MW under contract.
Mr. Arfin founded NineDot in 2015 after working at SolarCity Corp, where he developed the company’s popular lease financing for rooftop solar panels. The startup began to grow in New York because the city lacks space to generate electricity and developers are eligible for incentives there.
NineDot buys little land in New York’s outer boroughs, then works with local utilities to connect the batteries to the grid at the sites and find local buildings or companies to buy electricity. It is also working with Firmata on a project for all-electric ride-share company Revel Transit that would allow its fleet to sell electricity to the local grid when not in use.
Fermata specializes in bidirectional charging technology for vehicles that allows their owners to use electricity from the cars in their homes or sell it back to utility companies. Fermata working with Nissan Motor Co.
Ltd. and Ford Motor Co.
and sells software to manage the optimum consumption and supply of electricity by electric vehicles.
“The next phase of the energy transition is about integrating renewable energy and the impact it will have on grid infrastructure,” said Pooja Goel, chief investment officer at Carlyle’s Infrastructure Group. The firm supports projects in areas such as New York, where governments have already implemented supportive policies, she said.
A spokesperson for the company said Carlyle has invested about $1.2 billion in renewable energy projects over the past two years.
Write Matt Wirz at [email protected]