While solar cell and module manufacturing has become largely commoditized, with massive factories competing on cut-throat cost-cutting, much of the venture capital has moved to other areas where the industry is still in earlier stages, and where technological innovation is more of a factor than brute economies of scale.
Chief among these are energy storage and intelligent energy controls, both of which are poised to reconfigure global electric grids in the coming decades. Today a startup which combines both of these trends announced a major capital raise, including funding for expansion into the Ontario market.
Stem has produced an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to optimize the timing of energy storage, using big data and machine learning in its Athena Platform. This platform is attracting significant investor interest, with the latest $26 million Series D round announced today bringing the company to $110 million invested to date.
But Stem is not only raising VC capital, but also capital for deployment. Today the company also announced that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – one of its Series D invsetors – is also plugging in C$200 million (US$150 million) to finance the acquisition of energy storage projects in the Ontario market.
Stem expects to spend this C$200 million over the course of the next 12 months, by delivering fully-financed energy storage systems to customers in Ontario. The main aim of these systems will be to reduce peak demand costs.