Mercedes-Benz enters residential solar market

Marco Green
May 20, 2017

For now, a battery-connected solar system from Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar will only be available to USA customers in California. The companies announced the partnership on Thursday.

Vivint Solar had operations in 14 states at the end of a year ago.

"The choice to work with Mercedes-Benz Energy, a world-class innovator in energy storage, was an easy one", said David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar.

It's the first time Vivint Solar will integrate batteries into its future installations.

Vivint Solar, an offshoot of Vivint Smart Home, has installed more than 100,000 solar energy systems across the US since being launched by its parent company in 2011. Mercedes has no plans to offer Vivint solar systems through its auto dealerships, von Bormann said.

The new offering will be available in California first. The companies have similar goals.

"As Mercedes-Benz electrifies its vehicle fleet, solar plus storage is essential to enable those vehicles to be powered by clean energy", said Boris von Bormann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, in a statement.

With this scenario in mind, we can definitely predict that Tesla Motors will be facing some tough competition from Mercedes-Benz in the near future.

Home energy storage opens up an entirely new market for the company's battery technology, which it originally developed to power its line of electric vehicles. They can also provide backup power.

Vivint focuses on its customers through the entire process of going solar.

The systems will vary in capacity. For instance, in areas with time-of-use electricity rates, customers can store excess solar energy produced by the system during the day in the batteries and then consume it during periods of peak energy usage in the evening and at night when electricity rates are typically higher. As for those who want to go the whole hog, it will cost a cool $13,000. We suggest to get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place.

The market for energy storage is small, but growing rapidly as the costs of lithium-ion batteries fall.

For the automakers, adding solar to the mix allows them to market themselves and their electric vehicles as even more environmentally friendly. For Vivint and Mercedes, what sets them apart is their consistency and dependability. "The market is big enough that there are several companies in this space that can coexist and do really well, so there's not a need for a shark mentality out there to grab market share from others", von Bormann tells The Verge. Some other newer companies don't necessarily have this to offer their customers, giving Vivint and Mercedes a leg up.

The partnership will allow both companies to compete with similar offerings from Elon Musk's Tesla, which acquired rooftop installer Solar City a year ago, as well as Sunrun, LG Chem, and other clean energy firms.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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