Caltech Startup Acquired to Accelerate Deployment of Large-Scale EV Infrastructure
PASADENA, CA – September 3, 2019
EDF Renewables North America has acquired Caltech startup PowerFlex Systems (PowerFlex), a pioneer in managed electric vehicle (EV) charging technology. The acquisition will enable a single ecosystem for distributed energy that seamlessly integrates Electric Vehicle smart charging, solar, storage and building load.
Based in Los Altos, California, PowerFlex’s patented technology was incubated out of Caltech Professor Steven Low’s NetLab research laboratory. The optimization algorithms and methods were the outgrowth of a broad research program supported by grants from a variety of sources, including our FLOW program's Rocket Fund (see 2016 award winners), the National Science Foundation, ARPA-E, Department of Energy, Southern California Edison, California Energy Commission’s CalSEED program, Rothenberg Innovation Initiative, and the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator at NREL.
PowerFlex has deployed some of the largest single-site EV charging deployments in the world thanks to their Adaptive Charging Network (ACN) technology. This system enables site hosts to maximize delivery of electricity to EVs while reducing or eliminating the need for costly utility upgrades by managing charging depending on driver’s demand, building load, onsite generation, and other variables.
“For California to meet the 2030 goal of 60% renewable energy, and five million EVs, we need to deploy hundreds of thousands of low-cost workplace charging stations that promote daytime charging to prevent curtailment of solar,” said George Lee, CEO of PowerFlex and Caltech alumnus, in reference to California’s Duck Curve. “Orchestrating the seamless coordination of variable production from solar with the flexible load from EV charging will be critical to the long-term health of our grid. PowerFlex provides the solution to do exactly that.”
The PowerFlex investment is part of EDF Renewables’ continued strategic growth in the distributed energy market, as reflected by their acquisition of groSolar in 2016 and their partnership with EnterSolar last year. EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions group originates, develops, builds, and operates customer-focused renewable energy projects that incorporate solar, storage, electric vehicle charging, and energy management.
“Our commercial and industrial clients are realizing how important it is to provide cost-effective electric vehicle charging to retain their employees and their customers,” said Raphael Declercq, Executive Vice President, Distributed Solutions & Strategy at EDF Renewables. “By incorporating the PowerFlex technology alongside our existing solar, storage, and energy management offering, we are now able to provide building owners and facility managers with a single energy ecosystem where all assets work in concert to deliver clean, reliable, and affordable carbon-free power when and where it is needed.”
About EDF Renewables North America
EDF Renewables North America is a market leading independent power producer and service provider with over 30 years of expertise in renewable energy. The Company delivers grid-scale power: wind (onshore and offshore), solar photovoltaic, and storage projects; distributed solutions: solar, solar+storage, EV charging and energy management; and asset optimization: technical, operational, and commercial skills to maximize performance of generating projects. EDF Renewables’ North American portfolio consists of 16 GW of developed projects and 10 GW under service contracts. EDF Renewables North America is a subsidiary of EDF Renewables, the dedicated renewable energy affiliate of the EDF Group.
About PowerFlex Systems, Inc.
PowerFlex Inc. was a Caltech startup founded by technologists with entrepreneurial experiences to develop, deploy and manage industry-leading large-scale EV charging systems based on advanced algorithmic research at Caltech. The Company has delivered turn-key solutions for work-place charging at all the major EV centers in California and elsewhere, from startups and high schools to Fortune Global 500 companies. PowerFlex’s ACN technology has allowed our customers to provide large-scale EV charging at lower cost with cleaner energy.