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Mercedes-Benz partners with Vivint Solar for home energy storage in US

20 May 2017

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 battery systems are made up of 2.5-kilowatt-hour modular batteries that can be combined in systems up to 20 kWh, enough to run a typical refrigerator for a week.

Home battery systems allow customers to store solar power generated during the day for use after sunset, a time when they might charge an electric vehicle.

The hope is that linking solar, batteries, and electric vehicles together may prove to be a more convincing model than solar panels as a way to reduce energy costs alone. As such, many have begun installing solar panels on their properties while also seeking other clean energy and storage solutions. Currently, Vivint is the exclusive direct-to-home provider for the Mercedes-Benz systems, but more distribution channels are expected soon. This will also be Mercedes-Benz Energy's first collaboration with a USA solar provider.

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For solar companies, battery storage may provide a lift in a market whose dizzying pace of growth has suddenly slowed, especially for leading installers like SolarCity and Vivint, which both reduced their installation estimates amid corporate upheaval, and Sungevity, which went bankrupt. As with Tesla's Powerwall batteries, these Mercedes-Benz batteries will be complementary to Vivint's solar panels, offering energy storage and backup power.

"In the future when someone steps into a dealership and they are looking to purchase an EV, they are asking for several solutions and storage will be one of them", he said in an interview.

A recent survey by Greentech Media found residential storage in the USA costs between $1,300 and $2,000 per kilowatt-hour, excluding installation charges. "We look forward to bringing this innovative solution to consumers, beginning in our California markets".

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Mercedes rolled out its standing battery in Germany last April, but has since expanded to the United Kingdom and South Africa. Apart from the EQ brand with a family of vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also developing a holistic ecosystem, which, alongside the vehicle itself, also comprises a comprehensive range of electric mobility-related offerings. A year ago the industry generated $320 million in revenue in the United States, though residential systems made up just 4 percent of the total.

Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a holistic approach regarding the electrification of the drive train.

The partnership will allow both companies to compete with similar offerings from Elon Musk's Tesla, which acquired rooftop installer Solar City previous year, as well as Sunrun, LG Chem, and other clean energy firms. The company said that once necessary permits are obtained, installation of complete systems typically takes one or two days.

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Mercedes-Benz partners with Vivint Solar for home energy storage in US