Battery Storage

Harness the Power of Your Existing Solar

Battery storage is a logical, practical complement to solar. Solar takes care of the kWh usage cost  while battery storage can mitigate the kW demand costs (two different line items on commercial PG&E invoices), all in an effort to reduce the dependence on utilities and costs.

A major goal here at Chico Electric is to create a micro grid for our customers' operations so they won’t have to be connected to the utility at all. Battery storage technology is a big step in that direction.
—Norm Nielsen

Harnessing the power of your existing solar system—whether it’s an irrigation pump, almond processor, rice dryer, etc.—can shave the kW demand costs and save you money. Storage also will ultimately solve the solar saturation problem the utilities are having now, which is creating delays for many of our customers.

Working with our partner, Regatta Solutions, we are providing customers with the microturbine technology to generate both heat to supplement their thermal demands, and electricity for their power demands. Regatta Solutions has established itself as a premier, national energy solutions expert and is the exclusive Capstone Turbine Corporation Western US dealer.

regatta-logoWe’re ahead of the legislative and regulatory curve when it comes to complementary energy systems. Working diligently with our legislature and regulators, we want to be sure utility rates and regulations complement renewable energy and distributed generation (DG). (DG refers to customer-owned and sited systems.)

Contact us to discuss adding adding battery storage to your system. We look forward to working with you.

For more information on energy storage usage and trends, check out the following summary of a recent article by Anna Hirtenstein of Bloomberg:

Energy Storage Market Strong and Rising

Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts that storing power in batteries at a utility scale will be as common in 12 years as rooftop solar panels are now, giving consumers a revolutionary new method for storing and using energy.

An article by Anna Hirtenstein from Bloomberg News states, “… the energy storage market may be valued at $250 billion or more by 2040. It expects 25 GW of the devices to be deployed by 2028, about the size of the small-scale photovoltaic industry now.”

This will present a major challenge to the traditional utility business model which tends to be monopolistic and where power generation and distribution exist in a single company. New energy storage devices will be available to round out changeable power flows from wind and solar sources, reducing the need for large fossil fuel-based generation facilities.

Costs Will Drop

Julia Attwood, a storage analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says, “Batteries will get a boost as costs drop and developers see the chance for lucrative new revenue streams. Batteries could offer a whole range of services to the grid — they have the flexibility that will allow renewables a larger stake in energy generation.”

Worldwide, there is less than 1 GW of batteries operating. BNEF estimates that by 2040, the battery storage industry will skyrocket, storing and discharging 759 GWh.

Because the spread of electric cars is driving up demand for lithium ion batteries, manufacturers are ramping up production and cutting costs. The technology behind the lithium ion battery is also driving the battery storage industry. This is the same technology for storage devices that are attached to utility grids and rooftop solar units.

By 2030, BNEF expects the cost of a KWh to drop by half from current prices.
This technology will help even out the variable production problems that can come with renewables. Solar and wind simply do not work in dark or calm conditions respectively, creating energy gaps. While natural gas and coal currently fill those gaps, eventually power storage units can assume the burden.

In 2040, it is estimated that 35 percent of all light vehicles sold will be electric, which is equivalent to 41 million cars— 90 times the figure in 2015. The rise in investments in renewables is expected to hit $7.8 trillion by 2040, as compared to $2.1 trillion for fossil-fuel generation.

“The battery industry today is driven by consumer products like computers and mobile phones,” said Claire Curry, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York. “Electric vehicles will be the driver of battery technology change, and that will drive down costs significantly.”

While the industry is on its way, it’s not there yet. Pumped hydro is still 95 percent of the world’s grid-connected energy storage today, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Pumped hydro technology only works in areas with specific topographies as surplus energy is used to shift large amounts of water uphill to a hydropower reservoir so it can be used to produce electricity later.

According to S&P Global, there are several larger-scale battery projects in the works, include a 90-MW system in Germany and a 100-MW facility in Long Beach, California.

Simon Moores, managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a battery researcher based in London, says, “Utility-scale storage is the new emerging market for batteries, kind of where electric vehicles were five years ago. EVs are now coming of age.”