Last year, Mercedes started a program in Germany that works almost exactly the same way. Mercedes uses the automotive-grade batteries it’s developed for electric vehicles, which can withstand a lot of charging and discharging cycles. The company partnered with utilities and solar companies in Germany to store surplus energy for later use in the home.
This is exactly the same kind of system. When new customers hire Vivint Solar to install an array of solar cells on their roof, they can choose to add up to eight 2.5 kWh Mercedes batteries. The modular battery systems allows the homeowner to customize energy storage depending on how much energy is being captured and used.
The batteries work as a backup if the grid goes down, but they also allow users to make the most of their solar energy. The system can store the energy created during the day for use later, when the sun goes down and energy usage rates often climb.
The main competitor for Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint is Tesla, which makes Powerwall storage batteries and now the solar cells. Tesla would like you to charge your Tesla car with energy from Tesla solar cells that’s been stored in a Tesla Powerwall, but you as a consumer are not required to buy into a particular ecosystem. Mercedes and Vivint are only the latest option of what will likely be many more in the future.