The market for commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage has experienced rapid growth as a result of numerous market developments in the past several years. Across the entire energy storage industry, decreasing prices for batteries and other system components have helped make energy storage systems an economical solution for more customers, including building owners and managers. These systems have a unique ability to provide value for both host customers and grid operators.
An important factor supporting the C&I energy storage market is that storage fits seamlessly into building energy management and energy efficiency/service contracts that many companies already have in place. It provides a non-disruptive way to reduce electricity expenses by enabling participation in demand response programs by simply switching on the storage device, as opposed to traditional demand response that requires shutting down a load in the building. Storage also can provide several hours or more of backup power for customers’ critical loads — and microgrid functionality if tied to distributed generation resources. Energy storage provides a non-disruptive way to achieve several other benefits, as listed in the table below.
But what happens when a single storage system is not enough? As C&I building needs evolve and operations become increasingly specialized, having the correct technology that can serve a range of applications will be critical to realizing total system benefits.
In recent years, battery technology innovations have been focused on software management to maximize round-trip efficiency. While this will continue to be important, behind-the-meter customers could see greater benefits from hybrid energy storage systems. These systems can add advantages on top of what conventional battery technologies offer for C&I customers.
The case for hybrid solutions
Navigant Research defines a hybrid energy storage system as a stationary system that integrates…