Bloom Energy offers 10-year contract for cheap power off the grid

bloom box bye bye grid

Bloom Energy wants to help companies get off the grid now with clean energy, without having to buy its $700,000 Bloom Boxes. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bloom Energy is a California company that has developed a fuel cell called the Bloom Box. The Bloom Box supplies clean energy off the grid, but has been too expensive for widespread use. To solve that problem, Bloom Energy has created the Bloom Electrons program to eliminate the Bloom Box’s upfront costs.

The Bloom Electrons program

Bloom Energy made a splash in the clean energy market last fall with its introduction of the Bloom Box. The Bloom Box is an “energy server” that produces electricity with a chemical reaction and extremely low carbon footprint. Each Bloom Box costs more than $700,000. To date, only large companies such as Google, eBay, FedEx and Bank of America are Bloom Energy customers. To increase demand for Bloom Boxes, Bloom Energy partnered with Credit Suisse and Silicon Valley Bank to create Bloom Electrons. Bloom Electrons is a financing company that offers 10-year contracts for electricity from on site Bloom Boxes at a fixed rate.

Bloom Electrons powered by clean energy subsidies

Bloom Electrons allows companies to go off the grid using Bloom Box energy with no upfront costs. Companies that have already purchased Bloom Boxes up front expect to recoup the cost of the unit anywhere from three to six years after they are installed. With Bloom Electrons, Bloom Energy said companies can start saving up to 20 percent immediately on what they’re paying in California. At present, Bloom Electrons only pencils out in California. The average commercial rate for electricity in the U.S. is about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. Bloom Boxes can produce power at about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. But California subsidies and federal clean energy incentives bring Bloom Electrons power down to about 7 center per kilowatt-hour.

Taking the Bloom Box global

Bloom Energy said the Bloom Box will offer companies a competitive power advantage without the need for subsidies in three to five years. To do that the company will first have to ramp up Bloom Box production to meet the demand anticipated from the Bloom Electrons program. Two years ago Bloom Energy could produce one Bloom Box a month. Currently it can ship one a day. If Bloom Energy can decrease the production price along with increasing production, it could eventually meet its goal of supplying clean energy to the developing world.


Business Week



Other recent posts by bryanh