Dealflow | March 31, 2024

Greenbacker provides $100 million to battery storage developer Lightshift Energy

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

Batteries are key to unlocking value from intermittent renewable energy, such as wind and solar. Lightshift Energy’s standalone, utility-scale battery technology helps utilities optimize power supply and demand and replace fossil fuel-powered “peaker” plants that kick in when demand is high. 

The Arlington, Va-based company, formerly known as Delorean Power, has raised $20 million in growth equity and $80 million in project capital from infrastructure investor Greenbacker Capital Management. 

The deal follows a $20 million equity investment in the company by Greenbacker, a $3.6 billion green infrastructure investor, in 2021. 

Cost curves

Lightshift’s business is being driven by rapidly falling battery storage costs and tax incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, the company’s Rory Jones told ImpactAlpha. Previously, tax credits for battery storage were only available in conjunction with solar projects. “It opened up new markets where the application of energy storage didn’t make sense yet,” said Jones.

Lightshift Energy develops, operates and owns its lithium-ion battery storage systems, which range from two to hundreds of megawatts. The batteries connect directly to local electricity distribution systems or, for larger scale projects, directly into the grid. When the batteries are not needed by Lightshift’s utility clients, the devices can be used for other uses, such as buying or selling energy into the system or providing backup power to critical infrastructure, such as hospitals or data centers, which Jones says helps bring costs for customers down further.

“Almost without exception, every utility in the country is evaluating the competitiveness of batteries” to replace peaker plants, he said. And many are finding that, at today’s price points, “it’s making sense.” 

The company’s 10.5 megawatt battery in Danville, Va., is expected to save the city $40 million over $20 years, says Jones. Lightshift has another 20 battery projects under contract.