Daimler, Vivint Solar in exclusive deal on USA home batteries

The new offering will be available in California first. Vivint supplies the solar energy system to trap the energy during the day, while Mercedes-Benz provides the battery to power the home.

To the companies, along with rivals like Tesla and other solar installers that have joined forces with battery providers, that future involves tracts of software-enabled homes with solar panels on their roofs feeding batteries that can charge electric vehicles and power lighting and appliances at times when drawing from the grid is costliest.

California is the first part of America to be offered the Mercedes-Benz Energy system.

Mercedes-Benz Energy had started an identical program in Germany past year, providing their automotive-grade batteries that can withstand several cycles of charging and discharging. Customers can also reduce energy costs by using battery power during peak times when electricity rates are higher.

The energy storage systems will be made up of 2.5 kWh modular batteries that can be combined to create a system as large as 20 kWh.

David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, said in a statement that the price of the system would vary. This will also be Mercedes-Benz Energy's first collaboration with a US solar provider.

The second advantage is that energy storage gives electric vehicle owners a more convenient way to charge their cars at home.

"Adding storage is an obvious approach to improve the return on investment on a solar solution". Solar specialists like Vivint and its peers have enough confidence in that future, though, to secure their storage partners now. But before Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity in November, battery and solar installations were separate processes.

The partnership will allow both companies to compete with similar offerings from Elon Musk's Tesla, which acquired rooftop installer Solar City previous year, as well as Sunrun, LG Chem, and other clean energy firms. Mercedes' parent company Daimler has been selling its home batteries in Germany and the United Kingdom after announcing the product in 2015. Deployments of these set-ups totaled 336 megawatt-hours in 2016, double the amount deployed in 2015, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association reported in March. 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. The company said that once necessary permits are obtained, installation of complete systems typically takes one or two days. In addition to being able to purchase a solar energy system outright, customers may benefit from Vivint Solar's affordable, flexible financing options or power purchase agreements.

  • Zachary Reyes