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iDemand at the California Solar Power Expo

By Connie Lewis

iDemand Energy Storage (iDES3) scored big at a recent Solar Energy Industry Association tradeshow at the downtown convention center.

“We signed up three Southern California solar contractors to become dealers, two of whom were sent bids amounting to about $1 million in initial business,” said Ray Trejo, iDES3’s co-founder and COO.

“We also drew interest from some commercial developers, including a Mexican developer who has several projects up and running and more under way. He’s made an appointment to come our shop.”

iDES3, which has grown rapidly in size and staff count since first opening its doors in Miramar in late August, has manufactured and sold 600 kilowatt hours-worth of battery systems for residential and commercial buildings, both in and out of state.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that battery storage trails solar by at least three years in the sustainable energy industry. Kind of like an understudy waiting in the wings to take over for the star performer.

To wit: Greentech Media in an article, “A Maturing Industry: Assorted Insights From Energy Storage North America,” uses attendance figures for a couple of respective tradeshows as a barometer of enthusiasm for one versus the other.

Solar Power International, according to GTM, attracted a crowd of 18,000 to Las Vegas last fall, whereas the Energy Storage North America expo in San Diego in early October pulled just 2,000 people.

“The expo had some familiar names from SPI, but focused more on fostering conversations between like-minded storage wonks than on wowing an audience with bells and whistles,” GTM said.

Maybe the audience count was comparatively low because, as most energy storage battery manufacturers are well aware, solar companies make up a sizable portion of their target market. So why pay money to talk to like-minded wonks? Or perhaps the wow factor was missing because startup San Diego-based iDES3 was too busy filling orders and shipping battery systems to attend a tradeshow.

But after the dust settled a bit, we were ready, willing and able to exhibit at the SEIA show, May 1-2, where we wowed an audience of roughly 1,500 with models of our revolutionary clean energy storage battery systems comprised of fifth-generation lithium iron phosphate, LiFePO4, with prismatic cell technology.

“We had a lot of positive feedback from the many solar folks who stopped by to talk to us,” said Trejo, who designed the battery systems. “They said they hadn’t heard of us before, and they were amazed that our batteries can provide electricity to the average home for 12-24 hours in the absence of solar, wind or hydropower. It rained a lot here last winter and that’s important for solar installers to know.

“Other battery companies, such as Sonnen, Tesla, JLM, and Adara don’t custom size their batteries. When a renewable energy source, such as solar, isn’t producing they’ll provide electricity for a mere three to five hours. But since our battery systems are custom-sized for every application, customers only need the utility as a backup, or they may opt to go completely off the grid.

“It’s a whole-house, whole-building system, meaning it can power all of a customer’s heavy-hitting loads, such as air conditioning units, pool pumps, and electric car chargers as well as other basic appliances and needs. What’s more, we offer an unheard of 25-year warranty.”

iDES3’s lineup includes the 9-36 kilowatt hour Echo Indoor, 9-72 kWh Echo Outdoor and the 36-108 kWh Alpha Indoor/Outdoor.

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