Note from the President’s Desk
Energy Storage & Battery Backup Systems:
It is inevitable that the energy storage will be a huge market in the near future. Currently, there are many companies involved in the research, development, and innovation of storage and battery backup systems – pretty much all over the globe. Storage systems will be an integral part of any solar system in a not so distant future.
It is easy to envision how batteries will ultimately transform the grid as we know it today. Everyone wants to produce clean energy at their place of residence or business, and store the excess power to use during power outages or blackout periods. Or simply, have the desire to be independent of their power company and go off grid altogether. But the market has not yet come to full fruition, and it’s fair to say that most predictions have been overly optimistic as to exactly when it will take off and become a mainstream phenomenon. So, a few things must happen before storage systems really become mainstream and affordable. First and foremost, the storage systems must scale up and become more economically feasible and readily available for an average household to be able to justify the extra expense.
Today’s storage market is still in it’s infancy. The entire storage and battery backup systems are still in their development and innovation stage but things are changing and progressing quite rapidly. In this phase of the development, there are always early pioneers who are eager to try out the new systems, and of course that is a good thing, because it creates field experience and knowledge and identifies things that can be improved upon. But the general public usually tends to take a wait and see approach to see when these things become more reliable and economically feasible before they decide to take the plunge. Customers will enter the market in droves when it will finally make financial sense. So, to date, a tiny minority of solar system owners have made the decision to install battery storage. The use of storage systems at the present time makes more economic sense for commercial systems as opposed to the residential solar installations. In the commercial case, there are often demand charges set by the utilities that can substantially increase the cost of electric power. These demand charges are set by the utilities and vary depending on the time of day when consumption occurred. By installing a storage system, the commercial entity can reduce their KW demand charges by “injecting” their own stored power back into their facilities during the peak times when demand charges are the highest. For residential customers, the storage system will start to make more and more economic sense when the utilities switch to Time of Use (TOU). This is starting to happen and the California utilities are all planning to switch to TOU in the next couple of years.
So in conclusion, our recommendation to our customers is to be a little more patient as this exciting storage market evolves and becomes more mainstream each and every day. Cosmic Solar has already installed several storage systems at our various customer sites and we are eagerly monitoring and following the progress of this truly exciting technology.