Energy storage is usually remarked because the "holy grail" of energy. It is regularly touted as a solution to repair our aging electrical grid, a critical tool to increase the spread of renewable energy, and a bridge between the needs of utilities and their customers.
The fact is, grid-connected energy storage is not a new concept and is commercially available today as a valuable tool for reducing electricity bills, making facilities resilient, and generating revenue. Because energy storage solutions can be installed at many points on the network, there are already tens of thousands of network-attached storage systems installed in facilities around the world.
But what is energy storage and how can it be used today in facilities across the country?
Currently, there are more than 150,000 megawatts of storage systems installed around the world. Energy storage can refer to a wide range of technologies and approaches to managing energy. There are a series of relevant technologies for commercial and industrial installations, which can function as independent systems or in conjunction with a photovoltaic solar installation:
- Solid State Batteries - These are often paired with intelligent software system that charges and discharges them based on building's energy consumption, weather patterns, and historical patterns.
- Flow batteries: a type of rechargeable battery in which energy is stored directly in the electrolyte solution; The benefits often include a longer life cycle and quick response times.
- Flywheels: these systems store electricity within the type of K.E. If the power fluctuates or drops, the rotor will continue to rotate and the kinetic energy can be converted into electricity. Flywheels are helpful for power quality and reliability.
- Thermal storage: thermal technologies allow temporary reserves of energy in the form of heat or cold. Ice storage, for example, works by producing ice during off-peak hours when rates are low. When demand increases and rates rise, the ice system turns off the air conditioner and uses the stored ice to provide cooling.
Five benefits of storage
Depending on factors such as a facility's location, utility rates, and electrical load, energy storage can be an ideal solution for facilities to reduce energy bills. The cost of energy storage systems is constantly decreasing, while the number of customer-installed energy storage systems is increasing rapidly. According to Research, there was a 142 percent increase in MWh installed from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016 in the customer-based sector. They also expect nearly 50 percent of all deployments to be located on the client by 2021. Let's take a closer look at the five benefits these resources can deliver:
1. Environmental benefits. Energy storage has many environmental benefits that can make it a valuable tool in achieving sustainability goals. By improving the overall efficiency of the power grid, storage accelerates the wider adoption of renewable energy. At a more local level, an energy storage system is emission-free, so it can be placed anywhere in a facility with no immediate environmental or air quality impacts. And if combined with solar PV, not only will the power be GHG-free, the combined system is eligible for federal investment tax credits.
2. Demand charge reduction. Depending on the placement, many commercial and industrial facilities are subject to demand charges on their energy bills. These charges are based on the 15-minute period in which energy demand is highest throughout the day and, in some cases, can represent 50 percent of the total energy bill. While energy efficiency or solar PV can reduce overall electricity consumption, these benefits do not always coincide with the maximum use of a building. Energy storage systems, is specially paired with smart software, it can track the load and reduce demand charges of the facilities by distributing battery power during the peak demand periods, it effectively flattening the energy load.
3. Participation in demand response programs. Responding to demand for commercial and industrial facilities traditionally involves reducing usage at times of peak demand. Energy storage can enable participation on the market demands without impacting the on-site energy usage or the operations. By responding to utility price signals, storage systems can increase the financial performance of participating in disaster recovery programs while benefiting the overall network.
4. Maximize airtime rates. Energy storage systems can shift electricity consumption from expensive periods of high demand to lower-cost electricity periods during low demand. This reduces the risk of reducing the value of solar energy on site if rate structures change over time and peak demand periods change to night when the sun is not shining. This also allows facilities to take full advantage of time-of-use pricing and reduce the risk of rate structure change in the cost of electricity.
5. Emergency backup: resilience. Planning for emergency backup power is an important part of a resilience plan. Historically, industrial and commercial facilities have invested in local emergency back infrastructures. With the advanced storage solutions on the market today, there could also be opportunities to upgrade this infrastructure to supply not only emergency backup, but also a number of other solutions to save and generate money. And by using this infrastructure on a daily basis for demand load reduction, its reliability and availability in the event of an outage can be increased compared to a separate battery system and diesel generator that is only used during an outage.
For many facilities, energy storage is a new type of technology that is complex and diverse. Obtaining all the benefits requires a certain level of education for facility managers and owners. Additionally, not all facilities pay utility fees that allow them to capitalize on these benefits, so financing and investing can present a challenge. However, many storage companies offer no-down payment storage solutions to commercial and industrial customers, so this is a challenge that can be overcome with enough education.
Additionally, energy storage codes and standards have lagged
the pace of technological innovation, leading to lengthy and costly
interconnection and permitting processes. This is very true for construction in
existing buildings. In general, energy storage can save and even generate money
for many types of facilities. However, currently, there is limited information
available on the range of energy storage solutions, capabilities, and financing
options in today's market. For more info, contact Jpac Batteries today!