The global construction company Caterpillar has announced its very "integrated micro-grid solution" which reportedly utilizes solar photovoltaic panels and units to store the energy in. It is going by the name Cat Microgrid Technology and will come in 1kW to 100MW solutions. PV-Tech confirms they are including thin-film solar panels, Caterpillar generators and energy storage technologies which now include lithium-ion batteries.
Caterpillar said that their microgrid technology would be best suited for telecom towers, rural electrification, mining and industrial facilities where the units could be combined and connected to supply energy in an energy network setup. It has taken Caterpillar only one year since the announcement of their collaboration with photovoltaic developer First Solar. They called it a 'strategic alliance' and are looking at supplying to areas such as the Asia-Pacific regions, Africa, and Latin America, then gradually adding other customers not long after.
The announcement from Caterpillar comes after Lockheed Martin - known for their aerospace engineering endeavours - joined the game with corporate and industrial sized battery units to supply energy to businesses in peak hours, alleviating stress on the grid.
Rick Rathe, the general manager of new ventures for Caterpillar's Electric Power Business told Power Mag: "With the declining cost of renewable energy sources and rapid advances in energy storage technology, the time is right to provide an integrated application for remote power. Cat Microgrid technologies deliver an innovative, financially viable way to incorporate sustainable sources of energy into our existing portfolio of traditional power generation offerings."
Visit their website to learn more about their entry into renewable energy technologies: https://www.cat.com/powergeneration. Their aim is to be the leader in offering renewable energy sources to multiple industries including agriculture, commercial businesses, construction, data centers, greenhouses, healthcare, landfills, manufacturing, mining, municipality, power plants, telecom, and utilities. Sounds like the heavy hitters are here to stay.
Australia wants to be the leader
The political party known as The Greens in Australia has said it would be beneficial if they were granted up to $2.9 billion to equip 1.2 million houses with energy storage units which could see the country becoming the leader of renewable energy in the world. The proposition also includes 30,000 businesses that would benefit from the energy storage units. An endeavour that would only cost the government $38 million, says the group.
The Greens energy spokesman, Adam Brandt spoke to the Guardian Australia, saying: "Now is the time to jumpstart the battery industry, encourage the take up of storage and help make Australia a renewable energy leader." The group wants Australia to be fully integrated with energy storage units by up to 90% by 2030.
These plans were thrown into the mix along with the Clean Energy Council's impending safety regulations on the photovoltaic panel installers in Australia, which is starting to equate to the country being the most prepared for the energy storage revolution.
However, it seems the government of Australia has not yet latched on to The Greens plans, however, their fight continues. The Greens say too much money is going towards companies that still produce fossil fuels and that the government should strongly consider giving them the backing and make Australia the most forward thinking nation in terms of energy storage units.