Energy Storage Inverter Company Nabs Investment From Goldman Sachs
EPC Power, a utility-grade, smart inverter supplier, sells majority stake to Goldman Sachs and Cleanhill Partners.
As utilities scramble to expand power generation from renewable sources like wind and solar, the need for reliable energy storage solutions to deliver power during high demand and/or low supply is growing rapidly.
Growth Opportunities in Renewable Energy Storage
Recognizing this trend, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Cleanhill Partners recently announced a majority stake investment in EPC Power Corporation, a utility-grade smart inverter supplier. The investment will include a comprehensive re-capitalization allowing EPC to expand its operations and pursue emerging growth opportunities in the renewable energy storage market.
Utility-grade energy storage solutions. Image used courtesy of EPC Power
Global Energy Storage Capacity Booming
According to BloombergNEF’s 2021 Global Energy Storage Outlook, energy storage capacity is set to reach one terawatt-hour by 2030, more than Japan’s entire power generation capacity in 2020. This will require an estimated $262 billion of investment, with most installations occurring in the U.S. and China.
Global cumulative energy storage installations. Image used courtesy of BloombergNEF
Inverters Key to Renewable Energy Generation and Storage
Inverters play a critical role in renewable energy systems like wind and solar, where energy storage is required for load balancing to meet demand requirements during periods of reduced supply. Simply put, inverters convert AC to DC power, or the other way around.
In a wind turbine system, inverters will rectify “noisy” AC power from the wind turbine into DC power and then invert this energy back to clean grid AC power. Solar power systems generate DC power directly from their panels which must then be converted to utility AC. In wind and solar power systems, energy is supplied to a storage battery during periods of high supply for later use when the renewable supply cannot keep up with demand. The inverter in these energy storage applications is the Power Conversion System (PCS). The PCS is the conversion stage between the storage device, typically a bank of DC batteries and the AC grid.
Wind Turbine Power Generation. Image used courtesy of Broadcom
Solar Power Generation. Image used courtesy of Broadcom
EPC Inverter Technology
EPC’s central storage inverters range in capacity from 1.5 MW to 6 MW and are scalable to over 100 MW. With a typical generation capacity of 2.75 MW per turbine, a 100 W configuration would support a farm of ~ 35 wind turbines. The liquid-cooled inverters support both 50 Hz and 60 Hz frequencies, on and off-grid operations, and can achieve efficiencies greater than 98%.
In addition to renewable generation, EPC inverters can also be found in other stand-alone energy storage applications like data center backup power. As opposed to traditional inverters, EPC’s “smart” inverters use sophisticated software to dynamically manage power with the grid to improve resilience and reliability.
Along with AC/DC and DC/AC, EPC has DC/DC conversion products that can accommodate voltages from 100 V to 1500 V. These solutions are well-suited for aligning direct solar DC power outputs to storage batteries or for boosting voltages on low voltage sources like flow batteries to more useful levels.
According to EPC, their inverter response times are 10x faster than the industry standard, with a high level of reliability under all conditions. Their conversion solutions have a small footprint and modular design, resulting in a high-power density.