Often the best ideas are the most simple and elegant. If electric vehicles and consumer devices can have battery storage why can't buildings? And if buildings can pull electricity from the grid at off peak times and store it in batteries, wouldn't that save money?
Since 2009, Stem based in California, have been working on these questions and disrupting the energy storage industry. Continuing our series of articles on Innovation we talked to Salim Khan, CEO of Stem about his company and the technology that will shape the future of Smart Buildings.
1. How will distributed storage technology change building energy consumption?
With recent advancements in distributed storage technology and the continual decrease in the price of batteries, business owners now have more control on when they choose to pull energy from the grid. With onsite battery storage, companies can draw and store electricity when prices are lower for consumption during peak times. While this doesn't change the amount of energy consumed, it dramatically changes the cost of energy and frees up companies to focus on their core business.
2. How does Stem intend to disrupt this market in 2013?
Stem is an energy optimization company that combines big data, predictive analytics and energy storage to secure new energy savings for customers. For commercial and industrial customers, Stem's system is proven to reduce electricity bills up to 20% and provide a hedge against future electricity price volatility and rate complexity. Stem ‚Â¹s system requires no training for customers and no changes to how a company does business.
3. What do you see as the key emerging technologies shaping the future of Smart Buildings?
Battery storage will have a profound impact on smart buildings.
Just like hybrid cars that have the choice of drawing power from traditional energy sources or from battery storage, we expect that smart buildings will be hybrid buildings.They will be able to intelligently switch between battery power and grid power to reduce energy costs.
4. How will future Smart Buildings connect to the electrical grid and / or renewable energy sources?
With distributed energy storage, buildings have the potential to become better grid citizens. With the option to reduce peak energy usage, distributed energy storage systems have the potential to flatten the grid's load duration curve and mitigate the need to build peaker plants to serve peak loads.
Salim Khan Bio
Salim Khan was named CEO of Stem in October 2012. He is a proven executive with 25+ years of experience in technology innovations and business management. He joined Stem from Trilliant, a leading smart grid communications company, where he was President / Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that Salim was President/General Manager at ABB, Network Management business in the Americas. Salim was instrumental in growing ABB’s software business unit and one of the key architects of the company’s global smart grid strategy. He also led multiple acquisitions of smart grid software companies with more than $1 billion in investments. Prior to ABB, Salim held management positions at Landis+Gyr, Siemens and BP-Systems Control, Inc. Salim earned his Electrical / Software Engineering degree, with honors, from the University of Florida. He is also an alumnus of the ABB Senior Executive Leadership Program at IMD, Switzerland.