Aquion Energy, a company that's making low-cost batteries for large-scale electricity storage, has selected a site for its first factory and says it's lined up the financing it needs to build it.
The company hopes its novel battery technology could allow some of the world's 1.4 billion people without electricity to get power without having to hook up to the grid.
The site for Aquion's factory is a sprawling former Sony television factory near Pittsburgh. The initial production capacity will be "hundreds" of megawatt-hours of batteries per year—the company doesn't want to be specific yet. It also isn't saying how much funding it's raised or where the money comes from, except to mention that some of it comes from the state of Pennsylvania, and that $5 million, in the form of an R&D grant, comes from the federal government.
The first applications are expected to be in countries like India, where hundreds of millions of people in communities outside major cities don't have a connection to the electrical grid or any other reliable source of electricity. Most of these communities use diesel generators for power, but high prices for oil and low prices for solar panels are making it cheaper to install solar in some cases.