Solar EPC, O&M Contractor Targets Battery Storage


Original article:

Jul 31, 2018 - Taryana Odayar

A San Diego-based solar contractor has hired a battery storage expert with 25 years of experience in energy systems including flow, lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, most recently at Renewable Energy Systems Americas, to lead a push into the sector.

Following a nearly three-year long term as RES Americas’ vice president of energy storage business development, Craig Horne has joined Swinerton Renewable Energy, which provides construction, operations and maintenance services to solar, substation and energy storage projects, as its senior director for energy storage.

“I’m thrilled to join SRE and spearhead our entry into the energy storage market,” said Horne, in a statement. “Storage has proven to be an invaluable tool for utilities and network operators while solar has emerged as the lowest-cost generation option in many parts of North America. The hybridization of these two resources will revolutionize network operations and grid markets.” Horne has worked in battery technology and commercial applications since 1989, according to his LinkedIn profile. In his new role at SRE, Horne will lead the firm’s energy storage business, which aims to work on utility-scale, commercial and grid service-based storage projects.

He is just the latest battery storage professional to be snapped up by firms trying to make headway in the emerging subsector, as experts estimate that the battery storage market could double annually for the next several years, while all-in system costs per kilowatt-hour for large storage facilities are falling by 15% year-on-year.

In early July, Engie North America added to its growing battery storage-focused team by appointing Marc Roper as chief commercial officer of subsidiary Engie Storage Services NA.

“Storage is increasingly emerging as a vital component of optimized renewable energy systems and Swinerton is well-positioned to meet the needs of our changing energy landscape,” said George Hershman, president of SRE in a statement. “With [Horne's] leadership, we look forward to offering even greater value to our clients across the full project-cycle.”

With a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, Horne previously spent half a decade working as a fuel cell engineer for AlliedSignal Aerospace Systems and Equipment.

He is also chair of the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and has served on its board since 2014. He has been awarded 21 U.S. patents.

He is also the ceo and co-founder of Sunnyvale, California-headquartered EnerVault Corp., and served as chief strategy officer until 2015. The company designs and manufactures long-duration, megawatt-hour-scale energy storage systems based on technology pioneered by NASA. Prior to heading up EnerVault, Horne was an adviser at Amprius Inc., a lithium-iron battery developer. He has also held positions as vice president, technology, at World Energy Labs, director, electrochemical applications, at NanoGram Corp., founder and senior vice president, engineering, of Kainos Energy, and director, materials and process engineering, at NeoPhotonics Corp.

SRE has installed more than 3.5 GW of solar and has 4.5 GW under management. Last year, the company also launched a high-voltage and interconnection group based in Raleigh, N.C.

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