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Summary:

GridPoint, a smart grid company that helps utilities balance energy loads, just announced that it has more than doubled its funding, adding a $120 million equity financing round. Those funds will fuel an “acquisition strategy,” and GridPoint says its first purchase, also announced today, is young […]

GridPoint, a smart grid company that helps utilities balance energy loads, just announced that it has more than doubled its funding, adding a $120 million equity financing round. Those funds will fuel an “acquisition strategy,” and GridPoint says its first purchase, also announced today, is young Seattle-based startup V2Green, which builds smart charging technology to plug electric vehicles into the power grid. The price has not yet been disclosed.

GridPoint, which had already raised more than $100 million, raised this latest round largely from existing investors, which include Goldman Sachs Group (GS), Susquehanna Private Equity Investments, David Gelbaum’s The Quercus Trust, the Altira Group and Standard Renewable Energy Group. This funding brings the company’s total to more than $220 million. The company also has a big list of advisers, which include R. James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Yergin.

The acquisition of smart charging startup V2Green is particularly interesting. In March GridPoint said it had partnered with utility Duke Energy to test its smart charging tech on a controlled outlet in a residential garage. It didn’t sound too impressive, so good thing the company’s investing in some real plug-in tech. We actually asked V2Green what they thought about the GridPoint trial at the time, and they said they were actively trying to figure out more.

In June V2Green CEO John Clark told us that V2Green had raised a “significant investment” from an individual angel investor as part of the startup’s initial fund raising. So whoever that was (V2Green says it wasn’t GridPoint) will be happy today.

As more and more vehicles are made to plug into the grid, utilities will have to manage the plug-in connections, or the power grid could risk being overloaded. V2Green’s technology allows a plug-in electric vehicle to communicate with the grid so energy can flow to and from the car as the grid needs, called “smart charging” technology. The company’s Connectivity Modules use cellular networks to connect the vehicle with the grid, and allow for a two-way exchange of data.

GridPoint could also use V2Green’s software for other energy storage devices that plug into the power grid. Clark told us in June that V2Green was working on projects that could allow anything with a battery and grid connection to start sending energy to the grid, not just drawing from it. GridPoint says V2Green is the first of its acquisition strategy, so we’ll keep an eye out for other good possible fits for the company.

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. Two Way Charging and Solar Roof Panels on Plug-Ins

    The birth of the first solar panel on a mainstream production vehicle will be the next generation Toyota Prius due out next Spring. Nissan, VW and several other carmakers will offer solar panels on their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles also. One solar roof panel will only provide a small percentage of the power that todays electric vehicles require. At 20% efficiency (Suniva and Day4 Energy), a solar roof panel could generate up to 270 watts. The panel will be optional and cost under $900. Keep in mind, the cost of solar panels will gradually come down, and the efficiency will gradually go up. Already, there are cheaper and more efficient solar panels being announced. The SunFlake panel, invented by Martin Aagesen who is a PhD from the Nano-Science Center and the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen, gets 30% efficiency and will be cheaper than current panels. Innovalight claims they have a solar panel that is 44% efficient at one tenth the cost. If that’s true we will be over 500 watts. The next technology, coming 5 to 10 years from now, is infrared solar and solar paint, that will collect radiant heat from the entire vehicle body, 24 hours a day. This too has the potential to double the wattage again, but from twice the surface area. So we will be up to 2000 watts under ideal conditions (less depending on the angle of the sun and weather conditions).

    Recently, Toyota described the 1/X Concept vehicle, a plug-in hybrid about the size of a Prius, but ONE THIRD the weight, only 926 lbs. With a vehicle that is one third the weight, the mileage doubles from the same wattage. Quantum Sphere announced a breakthrough in their lithium ion batteries that produces FOUR TIMES the capacity from the same size cell. Another breakthrough is an electric motor that uses HALF the amount of energy to perform the same amount of work. With this new electric motor, the mileage doubles again. Search: Thor Power: Revolutionary Electric Motor Design Cuts Energy Use in Half. And with that 2000 watts of solar power, we will not be powering the vehicle motor. We will be powering a generator to pulse charge a pack of individual batteries in rapid succession with a pulse width modulator, many times per second. Such a battery charger is being patented. However, researchers can not explain how one battery running a generator can charge a half a dozen other batteries, but they see it happening.

    A large percentage of the coming electric and plug in hybrid vehicles will be charged at night when the rates are low, then driven to work and parked all day. If you live in a sunny location, the big pay-off will be Vehicle to Grid (V2G). This concept was originally conceived to transfer a portion of cheap off peak power from your batteries into the daytime peak load grid. You would drive to work, park your car at a V2G receptacle, plug in and tell your car how much power to sell to the grid. Then when you got off work, you would have enough juice left to get home. With advanced technology in a sunny climate, and 2000 additional watts of power to feed into the grid at peak load rates, you would get a lot of credits on your electric bill. All of this will eventually become a standard feature financed into the vehicle, and it will pay for itself. As a last resort, if you ever needed to charge your vehicle away from home, or on a rainy day, you would plug into the V2G system and charge your batteries. The power will go both ways. Feed electric power into the local grid for a credit, or draw power out as a debit on your electric bill.

    Solar panels, solar glass and solar bodies on vehicles using V2G will soon power your vehicle and the grid. Visualize whole parking lots of solar equipped electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, capable of feeding the grid, charging, or generating power on the fly. The vehicles of the future will be portable power plants, and we will be managing energy.

  2. Rise & Shine: September 24, 2008 Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    [...] GridPoint Raises Massive $120M, Grabs Plug-in Startup V2 GridPoint, a smart grid company that helps utilities balance energy loads, just announced that it has more than doubled its funding, adding a $120 million equity financing round. [...]

  3. Earth2Tech Week In Review « Earth2Tech Saturday, September 27, 2008

    [...] Written by Katie Fehrenbacher No Comments Posted September 27th, 2008 at 1:10 pm in Misc GridPoint Raises Massive $120M, Grabs Plug-In Startup V2Green: GridPoint, a smart grid company that helps utilities balance energy loads, announced that it had [...]

  4. Duke, Progress to Test Smart Charging Electric Cars « Earth2Tech Friday, October 31, 2008

    [...] which was bought by smart grid company GridPoint earlier this year, will also provide server side software to manage the flow of electricity, managing the energy to [...]

  5. Duke, Progress to Test Smart-Charging Electric Cars Friday, October 31, 2008

    [...] which was bought by smart grid company GridPoint earlier this year, will also provide server-side software to manage the flow of electricity to and from the cars as [...]

  6. Duke, Progress to Test Smart-Charging Electric Cars | Eco Friendly Mag Saturday, November 1, 2008

    [...] which was bought by smart grid company GridPoint earlier this year, will also provide server-side software to manage the flow of electricity to and from the cars as [...]

  7. Get Ready for the Car 2.0 Era « Earth2Tech Monday, November 24, 2008

    [...] Place will use, but so-called smart charging is being worked on by several companies. V2Green, which was recently acquired by GridPoint, is currently using cellular networks to connect information between the vehicle and the [...]

  8. Get Ready for the Car 2.0 Era | Eco Friendly Mag Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    [...] Place will use, but so-called smart charging is being worked on by several companies. V2Green, which was recently acquired by GridPoint, is currently using cellular networks to connect information between the vehicle and the [...]

  9. Perils of Purchase: V2Green’s Founder Sues GridPoint Thursday, March 26, 2009

    [...] Written by Katie Fehrenbacher No Comments Posted March 26th, 2009 at 5:10 pm in Startups Back in September all seemed well between the smart charging startup V2Green and its new owner, smart grid company [...]

  10. Gridpoint – Overhyped – Its just a portal with relays – thats it!!! Monday, March 30, 2009

    Gridpoint is overhyped. Its just a portal with relays – thats it!!!

    Dont be fooled!

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