GE, Arista Join to Sell Battery System to Cut Power Bills

General Electric Co., the biggest maker of power-generation equipment, will join with Arista Power Inc. to sell systems that store electricity for commercial customers and release it when demand is highest, helping to cut bills.

The system, which will use GE’s Durathon batteries, can store power from on-site wind or solar sources or from the grid and deliver it during peak periods, when commercial customers are subject to “demand charges,” according to a statement today. The charges can account for as much as 70 percent of an electric bill for commercial customers, which include shopping centers and office buildings.

It gives business owners control over their power “much more effectively and efficiently,” William Schmitz, chief executive officer of Rochester, New York-based Arista, said in a phone interview today. GE and Arista will promote and market the system.

Customers can see returns from the systems in two to five years typically, cutting costs by 15 to 25 percent, said Mark Matthews, Arista’s vice president of sales and marketing. Arista is focused on areas like the Northeast and Southern California where grids are strained, he said.

Arista rose 7 percent to $3.21 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 79 percent this year. GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, fell 1.5 percent to $19.07.

GE’s Durathon nickel-salt battery can last as long as 20 years, operate in extreme temperatures and is marketed for telecommunications, utilities and uninterruptible power supply applications, according to the statement.

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