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Orison Energy's home batteries could make it cheaper to power your appliances

Orison Energy's home batteries...
The Orison Energy Tower is similar in size to a standing room fan
The Orison Energy Tower is similar in size to a standing room fan
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Potential designs for the Orison Energy Panel and Tower batteries
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Potential designs for the Orison Energy Panel and Tower batteries
The Orison Energy batteries are designed to complement living spaces
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The Orison Energy batteries are designed to complement living spaces
The Orison Energy Panel can double as hanging wall art
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The Orison Energy Panel can double as hanging wall art
The Orison Energy Tower is similar in size to a standing room fan
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The Orison Energy Tower is similar in size to a standing room fan
The Orison Energy Tower may also be equipped with built-in LED lighting and a Bluetooth wireless speaker
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The Orison Energy Tower may also be equipped with built-in LED lighting and a Bluetooth wireless speaker
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The laws of supply and demand – maybe with a pinch of capitalism – generally dictate how much homes and businesses might spend per month on power. As such, consumers can expect to pay a premium for running heating or cooling systems during peak energy-usage times on cold or hot days. Orison Energy is preparing to help break this cycle with a pair of home batteries. The Orison Tower and Orison Panel charge up when utility rates are low and provide power when the rates are high.

You can think of the Orison Tower and Panel as giant, external lithium-ion battery packs that can power most appliances and home electronics. This concept isn't entirely new, as Tesla Motors announced its Powerwall home battery just a few months ago. Although many of Tesla's and Orison's proposed features are similar to each other, the Orison models have a few key elements that hold greater potential for consumer appeal.

The Orison Tower and Panel batteries are designed to be compact, lightweight, and plug-and-play. With a height of 34 in (86 cm) and width of 9 in (23 cm), the Tower could be mistaken for a small, standing floor fan. The Panel, sized at 22 x 28 x 2.5 inches (56 x 71 x 6.3 cm), might double as modern wall art if it's not tucked behind a large appliance, such as a refrigerator, where it can function without disrupting living spaces. Each of these units are expected to weigh about 40 lb (18 kg), which is light enough to carry without too much trouble.

The Orison Energy Panel can double as hanging wall art
The Orison Energy Panel can double as hanging wall art

Instead of having to hire professionals to wire the Orison batteries into a building's existing circuitry, as with the Tesla Powerwall, users simply plug them into existing wall sockets. This means that potential customers won't necessarily have to be homeowners. People living in dorms, renting rooms or apartments, or camping out in an RV park can benefit from the energy savings without any additional hardware requirements.

Aside from the mounting/hanging of the Orison Panel, these batteries have little more permanence than similarly-sized electronics. Users will be free to relocate them as desired.

Both Orison batteries are designed to store 2.0 kWh of energy, typically charging during the night when utility rates are the lowest. During the day, the Orison Tower and Panel will provide power to connected appliances/electronics independently.

"In the basic configuration, the system would provide power to those appliances during the super-peak time," explains Eric Clifton, Orison's co-founder and CEO. "Once you better understand your energy budget, you could run off the storage all day and only charge at night. We do foresee this becoming a common desired occurrence. Having this type of capability would allow customers to really budget."

Potential designs for the Orison Energy Panel and Tower batteries
Potential designs for the Orison Energy Panel and Tower batteries

Those with larger power needs, or who are wanting of a more robust system, could add multiple Orison systems to different circuits and/or supplement with expansion batteries. The Orison units have the potential to work in harmony with other energy sources (i.e: solar panels, wind-sourced energy, external generators) that are tied into the grid. When plugged into a socket, the Orison Tower and Panel actively monitor this grid activity, wirelessly alerting customers if/when a disruption or outage occurs. In these situations, Orison's proprietary software and technology are designed to automatically island the individual circuit(s), ensuring critical loads remain powered.

Wireless alerts from the Orison batteries are planned to be made available via a companion app. "Units will form a local mesh network and communicate via one common gateway to our Network Operated Distributed Energy Storage (NODES) Energy Cloud (NEC)," says Clifton. "The NEC pulls information such as utility rates, alerts, peak hours, and weather for solar customers while also monitoring the health of Orison. Our batteries have a 10-year performance warranty. If any systems are found to be performing poorly, we will alert the customer and dropship a replacement unit directly to the customer with a return package for the defective unit."

Orison plans to offer the Panel battery with inverter for US$1,600, with supplemental batteries costing $1,100 each. The Orison Tower will be priced at $1,950. The company plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon to provide pre-order savings and other incentives for early adopters.

Source: Orison Energy

UPDATE (Jan. 25/16): The Orison energy storage system is now on Kickstarter.

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7 comments
jerryd
Too costly at $550/kwhr. It needs to be under $200/kwhr to be worth it any but a few places. And Tesla's is only $350/kwhr and is also hard to be cost effective. Only in high cost time of day charging areas like Cal does this work with the Tesla's cost. And at over $550/kwhr this one doesn't make sense.
Don Duncan
I'm confused. Do we have to add the cost of the panel battery/inverter + Orison Tower? That would be about $3600. It I save 10% on my bill I will break even in about 70 years.
ivan4
What is the battery voltage? What is the output voltage and how does it power the necessary inverter? Is the inverter built in and what type is it? What are the temperature/load characteristics? What is the load/time curve like?
Until reasonable answers to those questions are given this is just pie in the sky.
PaulDent
Electric vehicles have to use lightweight lithium battery technology, which is very much more expensive than lead-acid (car) batteries. Interestingly, a figure of merit for the power to weight ratio of a battery is how high it could lift itself using its stored energy, that is, power to weight ratio can be measured in feet!
For exampl:
A 12v 100 ampere-hour battery stores 1200 watt-hours of energy.
One horse power is 746 watts, so that is 1200/746 = 1.6 horse power for an hour.
One horse power is 550 foot-pounds per second, so that is
1.6 x 550 x 3600 = 3,184,986 foot-pounds.
The battery weighs 40 pounds, so it can lift itself 3,184,986/40 = 79,625 feet.

Lithium batteries would go much higher!

However, the weight is not an issue for stationary batteries as used in residential energy applicationsa, so
the much cheaper lead-acid technology can be used.

The battery above for example costs $73 retail. So that is only $60/kilowatt-hour.

Ten times cheaper than lithium.
The reason is simple: Lead costs under $1/lb while Lithium is $29/lb !
Maguire
Are the smoke and mirrors optional or included?
OrisonCommunications
Orison energy storage has no hidden costs. Tesla’s Powerwall price ($3,500 for the 7.3 kWh system) does not include the inverter or installation and requires permits as well as an interconnect agreement from the utility. Both Orison products (Tower and Panel) use 2 kWh lithium ion battery packs, include all electrical conversion and networking equipment, and are simply plug and play. There are no installation costs, permits, or further hardware requirements. The 2.5-inch thick wall panel. Orison is infinitely expandable through supplemental panels. The primary wall panel with an invertor will be priced at $1,600, with each supplemental battery costing $1,100. The more units you have, the more resilient your power becomes. The total cost of an Orison 8 kWh system with an estimated 10,000-cycle life is $4,900. Estimated total cost of the 7.3 kWh Powerwall (including inverter, permits and installation) is $7,350.
Mr T
Just reading the Orison Kickstarter project faqs and something makes no sense. It states that the Orison can isolate the circuit it is plugged into. From the FAQ: "In everyday use, Orison actively monitors the electricity being used and only discharges that amount to ensure that no energy is back flowed onto the grid. During grid disruptions, Orison isolates the circuit it is plugged into to ensure all of your stored energy is available for your use and none is sent back to the grid. No wiring modification is required."
But that's rubbish. Firstly, the energy use in a home varies constantly, so just monitoring it over time won't allow you to predict the instantaneous power required at any particular time.
Also, to isolate a circuit you must connect to it in series, not in parallel, as the Orison (and any appliance) does.
So the Orison can't isolate a circuit that it is plugged into. The only way it would work is if the Orison is plugged into the wall and the appliances to be backed up are plugged into it, just like a UPS. It certainly doesn't state that this is how it has to be used, the description reads like a piece of fantasy in this respect, and appears very misleading.