Centrica Business Solutions

US direct current electronics manufacturer Pika Energy last week announced it received funding from energy investment firm Clean Energy Venture Group.Pika Energy said in a press statement that it closed a deal with the investment group for provision of a US$2.25m funding, which will be directed to improve the company’s operations in the distributed energy sector.

Pika Energy said the grant will be channelled towards scaling up manufacturing and commercialisation of its technology for integrating renewable energy sources with grids and storage facilities.

The Westbrook-Maine headquartered Pika Energy claims its solution will allow the development of cost-effective distributed nanogrids.

Ben Polito, CEO of Pika Energy, said: "The future will increasingly be powered by distributed clean energy systems, not the centralized fossil fuel power stations.”

Altogether, Pika Energy said it is in need of US$3.1m.

Pika Energy in generation-storage development

The funding followed the electronics manufacturer’s launch of its new solar storage technology - Pika Energy Island - utilising a direct current bus to enable simple communication and integration of solar PV generation with batteries.

Rob Smart, director of strategic partnerships at Pika Energy, said: “The biggest story in the solar industry right now is distributed energy storage.”

[quote] Previously, Pika Energy received funding from bodies including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Maine Technology Institute and the Small Enterprise Growth Fund as well as the Maine Angels and eCoast Angels.

The company said it will use the funds to develop bi-directional islanding inverters, battery charge controllers, DC solar optimizers, power converters, and certified small wind turbines.

US smart grid funding

The developments achieved by Pika Energy follows January's announcement by the US Department of Energy (DoE) that it will provide funding of up to $220m to projects aiming modernising the country’s grid.

The funding will be channelled to more than 80 smart grid projects “to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernization areas,” within the next three years.

Announcing the department’s plan, Ernest Moniz, Secretary for the US Energy department said: “Modernizing the US electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.

“Our Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review identified needs and opportunities to invest in the grid,” he continued.

The new Grid Modernization Initiative is the DOE’s attempt to “solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage and smart building.”