Ice Energy, a Windsor, Colorado company, closed a $24 million series C investment to help electric utilities shift peak energy demands in the buildings they power to off-peak during hot weather. Investors in the round included TIAA-CREF’s Global Social and Community Investing Department, Good Energies, Energy Capital Partners, Sail Ventures and Second Avenue Partners.
The way Ice Energy’s technology works, at a basic level, is something like an icebox on a rooftop. During off-peak hours, the Ice Energy system makes ice (the regular, cold and watery kind) using available electricity to do so. Hopefully, some of that energy comes from intermittently available, clean, renewable sources like wind or solar. Throughout peak hours, the ice cools the building in lieu of traditional air conditioning which would further strain the power systems.
The chief executive and co-founder of Ice Energy, Frank Ramirez, described what makes the company distinct in an e-mail to TechCrunch, Monday:
[Ice Energy’s products are] directed at the air conditioning market for buildings that are three stories or less…They are the ones using refrigerant for air conditioning. This segment of the market represents 97% of all commercial buildings and 50% of commercial air conditioning electricity consumption. Ours is as a platform solution [including a] device that provides energy storage [and] controller on the device allowing intelligent operation at the site. The unit connect[s] over cellular to a network operations center that in turn is connected to a control room at [the power utility]. Utilities can direct control from single units up to the aggregated whole.
Ice Energy currently boasts 25 utilities as customers, and is working on a new pilot project with Toronto Hydro, and a large-scale project with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA).
Utilities can reduce the amount of fuel they consume in delivering electricity for air conditioning load by 30% to 50%, the company reported.
Investor Pete Higgins of Second Avenue Partners lauded Ice Energy for: 5 million hours of operational run time, its operational utility projects and a robust patent portfolio. Ramirez said his company would use its series C capital to fulfill a $115 million supply agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) and to drive new sales to utilities.