Energy Storage Vital to Make Renewable Energy Viable: Interview
Stem’s investments in India helps it support customers around the world
In an exclusive interview with Mercom India, Sushain Sharma, Managing Director, Stem India, talks about the company’s energy storage offerings and plans for India. He also shares his thoughts on the Indian government’s policies to promote energy storage.
Stem offers integrated solutions to improve returns and maximize the economic, environmental, and resiliency value across energy assets, including storage, solar, and electric vehicle charging.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Can you tell us about Stem and your energy storage offerings?
Stem is the market leader in analytics and software solutions for energy storage and solar asset performance management. We provide storage, solar, and EV optimization software, services, and hardware to our global customers. Since 2021, we have accumulated close to $2 billion in contracted storage assets under management, representing 280% growth over that period (from around 1 GWh in early 2021 to 3.8 GWh today).
In solar, we have over 26 GW of assets under management in the U.S.
Our AI platform Athena® predicts energy costs based on customer activities and utilizes battery storage to significantly reduce energy spending. Athena determines when best to charge and discharge batteries as well as ensuring optimal uptime of storage and solar assets by predicting any issues with hardware or external conditions.
We recently launched our PowerBidderTM Pro application for customers participating in U.S. wholesale markets who want to manage their assets themselves.
Which market segment is driving the demand for battery storage globally, and what are the reasons behind it?
In the U.S., Stem is seeing the biggest opportunities as the market moves past historical and regional limitations. Technology and policy advancements are helping make renewable energy a viable business investment across the U.S.
C&I and Utilities are beginning to better understand renewables with pilot projects and are now exploring broader portfolio-wide plans and investments. In addition, renewables continue to be a focus as catastrophic events such as extreme heat, wildfires, and unusual rainfall patterns across the world drive increased awareness about climate change.
What was the reason for choosing the Indian market for your next venture, and could you tell us more about your plans here?
We have had a presence in India since June 2014 as part of AlsoEnergy, which Stem later acquired in 2022. With our global Centre of Excellence, Stem’s investments in the region help us support customers around the world while driving operational excellence in critical areas such as software development, customer operations, data science, and technology. India is a hub for top renewable energy talent and touts premier academic institutions that can help Stem lead the clean energy transition through collaboration, innovation, and unparalleled energy expertise.
What are some of the policies that are needed to drive energy storage adoption in India?
Policies that could support energy storage adoption in India include tariff structures that incentivize grid flexibility, regulations that allow for greater participation of distributed resources in the energy market, and funding mechanisms that support technology innovation and deployment. The government has already introduced several initiatives, such as the National Energy Storage Mission, Smart Cities Mission, and Green Energy Corridors, to promote storage adoption. Stem is continuing to monitor these and other policies and is encouraged and excited to see policies supporting the global clean energy transition.
What markets are you planning to cater to in India? Utility-scale for distributed generation?
Right now, our focus in India will remain on growing our workforce and further operationalizing the new Centre of Excellence. We will continue to monitor the evolution of the clean energy market in India as well as APAC to inform our future market strategies.