Energy storage technology that uses compressed air to create heat energy, which can then be stored and more efficiently released onto the grid during off-peak intervals, spurring adoption of renewables.
The economic case against renewable energy technologies like wind and solar as intermittent sources of energy, unable to effectively handle continuous power grid needs.
Headquarters: Berkeley, Calif.
CEO: Steve Crane
Year Founded: 2009
Number of Employees: 50
Funding: $42 million
Key Investors: Khosla Ventures, Peter Thiel, Innovacorp, Bill Gates and Total Energy Ventures
- Energy storage is the Holy Grail of the power market.
- Global energy grid will cost nearly $14 trillion to upgrade over the next few decades
- More than 30 percent of this investment serves a need that could be economically met with energy storage, if storage technology can be scaled cost effectively.
- When grid-scale energy storage becomes available, electric utilities will have to rethink the way that electricity is generated and distributed.
- California Energy Commission and the U.S. Navy have ordered a LightSail unit for delivery next year.
- LightSail's machines weigh 20 tons and have a long gestation period: it takes five years to design, build and commercialize.
- LightSail is in the fourth year of the plan
- Still pre-revenue, but scaling up for 2015 and projecting about $25 million in sales that year.
"Disruption is when a technology shows up that makes it impossible to do business the way it's always been done."