CRES will be contacting renewable energy businesses throughout the New England region to ask questions about clean energy technology. We intend to shed light on the clean energy leaders within the region and promote the expansion of clean energy technology across the nation.
Chip Means, Director of Marketing
1) What is the name of your business and what do you do?
Pika Energy, Inc. is a leading U.S. manufacturer of clean energy products including solar inverters, DC converters and power optimizers. Founded in 2010 by MIT-educated engineers, Pika Energy manufactures high-efficiency, bidirectional inverters and power converters and substring solar optimizers. The award-winning Pika Energy Island™ uses a single islanding inverter and smart batteries to turn any building into a smart, clean energy nanogrid.
2) How has New England and/or the United States’ emerging clean energy industry affected your business?
Pika Energy’s products are developed and manufactured in Maine and Massachusetts and are sold and installed throughout North America by a network of solar installation firms and equipment distributors. New England specifically has many great solar installation firms that can offer our products as a solution for clean backup power to customers who lose grid power during winter storms. The northeast has the most annual days without power of any region in the United States, and a conventional solar installation will not power a home during a blackout. Our Pika Energy Island system offers this capability.
Throughout the United States, utility rate structures and net metering policies are evolving, often in the direction of supporting battery storage with solar photovoltaic generation. We offer our Pika Energy Island system for these markets as well, since our high-efficiency design and smart operating modes can help customers to manage the times of day when they’re using their stored clean power rather than buying from the grid when costs are peaking.
3) Has your business undergone any efficiency measures/ what has your business done or plans to do in order to reduce energy costs?
Pika Energy’s corporate headquarters in Westbrook, Maine has a solar PV installation on its roof, which will be expanding soon to cover our company’s growth in headcount and associated kWhs consumed. We have several employees who drive plug-in or hybrid electric vehicles and we recently installed a car charger.
4) What role has state or federal incentives played in helping to spur growth in your business?
The solar Investment Tax Credit is obviously a huge boost at the federal incentive level for our whole industry and is an important tool to helping customers see a favorable period of ROI. Pika Energy benefited from a Department of Energy SunShot Award in 2016 to help us accelerate the manufacturing of our smart solar inverters.
5) What do you see as the future of clean technology?
The future of clean technology is to become the dominant source of energy in the United States. We already have that potential as a nation and as an electrical grid. Adding storage at the distributed scale is a key near-term need, to help compensate for the intermittent nature of renewable energy and allow the utility power providers to balance supply and demand more precisely. Pika Energy makes the smart, enabling technology to involve the utilities as partners in what we believe is an unstoppable transition away from fossil fuels.
6) Why do you think it is important for elected officials and other business to learn more about your field?
Beyond the moral obligations we all have as a society to ensure this planet is inhabitable for our children and grandchildren, there’s a considerable and immediate economic obligation to support the fast-growing clean energy sector. This sector is adding jobs at a rate that can’t be ignored or stopped. We are fortunate in Maine to have two U.S. Senators, Sen. Collins and Sen. King, who are fighting in support of clean energy growth and recognize the tremendous economic opportunity this sector offers. We look to their influence and leadership to set a standard for politicians throughout the United States to take notice and join our cause.
Click here to check out the Pika Energy website.