Balqon targets Li-ion Energy Storage Systems

March 30, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Balqon Corporation is widely known for its heavy-duty electric trucks, which are used at large U.S. ports and industrial plants, but over the past year, management has targeted the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar global renewable energy storage industry. The story begins back in late-2010 when Winston Battery Limited acquired a 41.8% stake in Balqon Corporation with the goal of expanding the business beyond heavy-duty electric trucks into the growing market of energy storage.

In 2011, the company began researching various configurations of lithium energy storage systems for telecommunications and commercial customers. Many of these telecom customers used lead acid batteries along with diesel-powered generators to power remote cell tower facilities. Using its proprietary battery management system, Balqon helped these companies reduce generator operation time and maintenance at their remote facilities. And in 2013, the company began shipping these solutions to customers across the United States, Asia, and Australia.

The company also began developing grid-tied energy storage systems driven by measures like California's AB2514 - a rule that required all investor-owned and publicly owned utilities to purchase new grid-connected energy storage systems with a minimum capacity of 2.25% of peak load by 2014. In 2012, after deploying a 1MW load-shaving off-grid energy storage system, the company is well positioned to serve these markets with its cost-effective technology.

Balqon Corporation has also focused on targeting residential users looking to store energy produced in solar installations, recreational vehicles, forklifts, or any number of other products, where lead acid batteries are commonly used. While Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA, +2.59% and Solar City Inc. SCTY, +2.27% are focused on installing residential solar panels with lithium-ion storage systems, Balqon has targeted existing residential solar systems that are utilizing traditional lead-acid batteries for storage.

As one of the first companies in the world to develop 400 kWhr lithium-ion battery powered Class 8 heavy-duty trucks back in 2007, the company leveraged its experience in high voltage and large storage to develop solutions for renewable energy storage such as solar and wind energy. In addition, Balqon has developed lithium battery replacement packs for RV users that have significant off-grid power needs. Many RV owners prefer to use battery power at night when camping, since loud generators are frowned upon. Of course, the larger capacity, longer lifespan, and other dynamics make lithium-ion preferable in most off-grid applications.