Saturday, April 20, 2013

Is Growing Portable Solar Sector the Answer for Grid Independence?

Apr 19, 2013 (ACCESSWIRE-TNW via COMTEX)
There's little question demand for renewable portable power is being driven by the recognition that our power grid is becoming less reliable whether from crumbling infrastructure, climate change driven storms of greater frequency and intensity or a combination of both. Power outages in the Northeast states as well as in the Southwest were more frequent and longer in duration than many of us can remember and predictions are for another volatile hurricane season in 2013.
Consumers increasingly seek mobile power for a growing number of devices as well as large commercial appliances in addition to phones and laptops; companies need reliable access to power in the field or on the road; governments require power solutions that deliver during emergency situations like natural disaster response.
Despite diesel "genset" historical dominance in portable power, RENEWABLE portable poweris capturing market share largely due to its indoor use possibilities and as a more economical, more reliable, cleaner and quieter option. Meanwhile, the renewable mobile power market for forward military bases and temporary installations alone is forecast to reach $6.1 billion by 2030, according to an industry reports. The genset market is estimated by industry reports to be as high as $22B globally and as battery storage technology advances, demand for renewable portable power so does demand for portable power.
As one could imagine, investors are taking notice. In January of 2013 portable power leader, Goal Zero raised $7 million in a Series C venture round with Mercato Partners. Meanwhile, a publicly traded portable power pure-play IDS Solar Technologies Inc. (otcqb:IDST) has been well received by the public market, with growing volume resulting perhaps from their announcement of advanced lithium iron phosphate Battery Management and control electronics as the centerpiece of their product development plan.
Portable Solar's Competitive Landscape
The market abounds with publicly traded renewable names: First Solar FSLR +1.14% , Yingli Green Energy YGE +4.04% and Suntech Power STP -0.46% - the list goes on... However, only a handful of companies operate in the portable solar space, including IDS Solar Technologies (otcqb:IDST) and two privately held competitors that include the industry leader Goal Zero and recent entry Wagan Corporation.
As possibly the only publicly traded renewable portable power pure-play, IDS Solar Technologies may be interesting, with its improving product pipeline and advanced Battery Management Systems and control electronics customized for use with lithium iron phosphate batteries, which many see as the highest growth potential as a storage medium.
The Competitive Field
Goal Zero - primarily solar in its focus and a leader in solar portable power for low-load applications like phones or emergency kits. Their flagship utility-scale solar kit is its Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit, which powers USB, 12V and AC devices ranging from lights to refrigerators.
Wagan Corporation began in the auto appliance field, but expanded into portable solar with a wide range of products from consumer electronics to utilities. The company's flagship utility-scale solar kit is its Solar e Power™ Cube 1500, which includes USB and AC outlets for functional flexibility.
A Competitive Edge in LiFePO4?
While Goal Zero may be commercially established, IDS Solar Tech is catching up with its unique lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology and ability to rapidly scale via a growing distribution network.
Since January of this year, IDST has been establishing a nationwide distribution network for its portable solar products and has expanded this network to include fifteen states, while also in discussion with regional assemblers to provide faster supply and lower distribution cost.
In April, the company announced completion of its first LiFePO4 Battery Management and Charge Controller which will improve safety, cost, power density and a lifespan of the energy storage within its products, which all translates into ROI for the userits products. Numerous channels are evidently being developed including OEMs.
Renewable Portable Power - Innovation Rising to Meet Demand
So IDS Solar Tech may warrant a look as an interesting opportunity as it moves closer towards large-scale commercialization. Its products are in high demand targeting numerous end markets; its distribution framework is filling out; and lithium-iron phosphate battery controller is clearly differentiating its products lines and opening access to the market.
For further information on IDS Solar Technologies:
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