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Mary Barra: GM Energy is a ‘significant growth opportunity’ for the company

Earlier this week General Motors (GM) announced its big foray into the energy business with GM Energy, providing services meant to help consumer and commercial clients manage charging and energy storage. For GM CEO Mary Barra, the suite of products creates an ecosystem that not only helps customers but also America’s electrical grid.

“One of the things we want people to understand is not only is an electric vehicle your mode of transportation, how you get from point A to point B, but it can also be a power source,” Barra said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer. “And I think that's gonna be very important as we look and really strengthen the grid in whatever country we're doing work.”

“We have the battery technology to provide clean energy, energy storage, and also supplement the grid,” said, whose interview will be featured at Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit on Oct. 17. “So we're really excited about the business opportunity based on the Ultium technology that we have.”

GM Energy will sell battery technology and energy management systems through its newly created Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial suite of products and services, which will integrate with its existing Ultimium Charge 360 charging network. On-site battery storage that Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial provide could allow the customers to create “microgrids” that work off the main electrical grid and provide electricity to utilities during times of heavy load, while offering customers more control over charging.

GM Energy home solution with SunPower (credit: GM)
GM Energy home solution with SunPower (credit: GM) (GM)

In addition, the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV pick up will be able to provide bidirectional charging, meaning it can send its own electric power to customers home or business when needed, and charge from the grid or on-site batteries only when it needs to do so.

“We see it being a significant growth opportunity for the company,” Barra said. “When you look at it being another reason people buy an electric vehicle, but also what we can do beyond the vehicle from an energy perspective.”

GM Energy is partnering with SunPower (SPRW), a solar technology and services provider, to develop and offer at-home energy systems that will potentially include at home chargers, solar panels for additional energy capture, and home energy storage.

“The grid today doesn't have enough capacity for all the future EV sales that we expect, and General Motors is expecting to sell more than a million electric vehicles in the next three years,” SunPower CEO Peter Faricy told Yahoo Finance about the company’s opportunity with GM. “For practical purposes and obviously to combat climate change, more and more consumers are going to want solar power.. And we're thrilled to work with GM to serve their customers.”

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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