Back in February 2010, Bloom Energy hit the news in a big way with its mysterious fuel-cell “Boxes” tech powering tech giants like Amazon. Now it’s trying a new thing with “Electrons,” selling its clean energy to customers without them needing to buy hardware.
Bloom’s PR is extremely confident in tone: “The Bloom Electrons service allows customers to lock in their electricity rates for 10 years, delivering fixed predictable costs and significant savings versus the grid” and the system allows “immediate cost savings with no initial investment, making onsite clean, reliable, affordable energy more accessible.”
The trick is that Bloom delivers, installs and, then runs and maintains the Bloom Boxes on customer’s sites–the clients no longer have to fork over the usual fee (close to a million dollars) to buy the Boxes themselves. It’s clever, definitely a boon on the client side (since Bloom promises they can “immediately save up to 20% on their energy bills”) and it’ll likely result in Bloom’s systems finding many, many more customers. The eco-payoff of this is also undeniable.
Simultaneous with this expansionist effort, Bloom’s revealed a number of customers–and some of them are big names indeed. CalTech is one we haven’t seen before, which is installing a 2-megawatt system, and Walmart, Coca-Cola, Staples are labeled as “repeat customers.”
Bloom notes that its current fleet has provided “over 40 million kilowatt-hours” of power, and “eliminated approximately 45 million pounds of CO2 emissions.” With the new effort, and roll-out of 200 new systems (at first) delivering 20 megawatts, those figures are going to definitely leap upward.