A startup with ambitious plans to build large battery banks next to solar and wind farms across the world, has now run out of cash and has filed for bankruptcy. Xtreme Power, founded in 2006 and based in Kyle, Texas, is also using the bankruptcy filing as an attempt to sell the company.
According to the bankruptcy filing, Xtreme Power has just $34,000 in cash in the bank at this point, and $10 million in debts. Some of the creditors listed include Arnel Investments, Spring Ventures in San Francisco, Horizon Batteries, which holds the license for the batteries Xtreme Power used, and the Department of Energy, which gave Xtreme Power a grant from the 1603 cash grant program. The company was funded by Sail Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners, among other investors.
At one point a couple years ago Xtreme Power told us it had been seeking financing for a $425 million battery plant that would roll out an eventual 2 gigawatts of batteries per year to be used to provide energy storage for the power grid. Between 2009 and 2011 the company’s sales grew quickly, with a few new contracts from project developers like wind developer First Wind for a battery system in Oahu. The company says it had annual revenues of $22.2 million in 2011.
But following a slow down in sales of its products in 2012, and a fire at its battery farm in Hawaii in 2012, Xtreme Power saw a cut in revenues in 2012 and 2013. In early 2013 it stopped manufacturing the batteries licensed from Horizon and instead focused on selling the battery and power management software systems. In recent months the company has laid off much of its staff.
Xtreme Power’s ambition’s reflect a common tale for clean power startups. The company looked to grow too fast, and had a business model based around another company’s technology: the lead acid batteries from Horizon.
However Xtreme Power did manage to get some traction in the energy storage market before its struggles. Xtreme says it has 12 projects in the field that equal 60 MW worth of battery storage coupled with clean power.