A “Swiss Army Knife” for home energy management

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The home energy storage provider market is more highly consolidated than the residential solar installer industry, with the top five players holding about 59% market share, according to Wood Mackenzie. Despite the challenge of entering the top-heavy lithium-ion home battery market, one company has risen from startup stage to a top-ten market share position just two years after its first storage project. 

Ranking eighth in terms of deployment in 2023, FranklinWH has emerged as a player in the growing space. Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Ambrose joined pv magazine USA to discuss the dynamic home energy solutions industry. 

FranklinWH’s founders had previous experience in the uninterrupted power supply (UPS) industry, supporting datacenters, utility, and industrial backup solutions. This experience carried over to the home storage business, and it is reflected in the company’s name. The “WH” in the name stands for “whole home,” and whole-home support and independence is central to its value proposition. 

FranklinWH’s solution is an AC-coupled battery with a built-in inverter, along with a smart energy management system for integrating power sources with the home. The company said its solution can transition to backup power during a grid outage within 16 milliseconds. A single LFP battery adds 13.6 kWh per unit, with 5 kW continuous and 10 kW peak power.

Ambrose said the company has a vision of bringing “power back to the people” by bringing full-home backup and control of energy at the home. Ambrose considers the company’s product as a “microgrid in a box,” reaching beyond just providing a battery, and instead offering customers home energy management solution. 

Through the battery and energy management system, customers can manage input from solar, from the grid, or from a generator into the battery, along with electrical load management, giving homeowners control over both production and consumption. 

“It’s grid-forming right out of the box,” said Ambrose. “You can form a microgrid on day one. It creates a firewall barrier between the utility and the homeowner.” 

This “firewall” is becoming increasingly valuable to residential ratepayers, as electricity prices continually rise, and time-of-use and other demand-related charges are introduced and increased. 

“The unending march of higher utility bills will not stop,” said Ambrose. “When you invest in a PV plus storage system, what you really are investing in is inflation-proofing your electrical requirements for your next 10, 12, 25 years, depending on the warranties you put behind it.” 

Furthermore, major markets like California have slashed compensation rates for exporting solar production to the grid, damaging standalone solar value, and making a flexible home battery an important feature in an economical solar project. 

“You can think of PV like a knife, it cuts one way, does one thing, and does it efficiently. It produces electricity,” said Ambrose. “When you take a look at an energy management system with a battery, now you’ve got a Swiss Army Knife. It serves all kinds of functions, whole-home backup, peak shaving, load management, even grid-interactive services.” 

Ambrose said this equates to choice for the homeowner, whether they need to have uninterrupted power for medical devices, desire lower energy bills, or want to charge an EV with home solar. 

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