Solar Plus Storage Eliminates Hefty Demand Charges…and Other Quick Microgrid News

June 30, 2016
Solar plus storage at Mission Viejo…Powerstream wins grid mod award…gas-fueled distributed generation on the rise…wind and solar prices poised for steep drop…all in today’s quick microgrid news.

Federal tax incentives for solar plus energy storage systems are currently available for up to 30 percent of the total cost. For Mission Viejo business Franchise Services, an investment in solar plus storage will drastically reduce utility bills — and eliminate hefty demand charges.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Dllu.

The company, which occupies a 44,000 square foot office building and spends $120,000 a year on electricity, wanted more choice and control over annual utility expenses.Solar plus storage technology from JLM Energy will make that possible.

Utility companies calculate electricity charges for businesses based on total kilowatt-hours consumed and the rate at which this energy is used. The rate of energy consumption — referred to as demand charges — can account for up to 50 percent of a business’s monthly energy bill.

Franchise Services invested in the commercial grade “Gridz” solar plus storage system, which combines two 30 kW/60 kWh battery systems with solar panels. Its smart software, “Measurz,” analyzes historical energy consumption trends and then develops efficiency recommendations that include the exact combination of storage and renewable energy needed to limit demand charges. This makes it possible to rely on stored energy during peak times or feed excess energy back to the grid at a constant rate, resulting in lower bills.

“We estimate that implementing solar and energy storage will cut our utility expense by 75 percent,” said CFO Dan Conger. A rapid return on investment is expected: “Our calculations show the break-even point on this system is 48-months.”

The business qualified for California’s SGIP rebate as well as the Federal Incentive Tax Credit for energy storage systems. The $450,000 system became a $290,000 system net of tax and incentives.

The Franchise Services project is the first of its kind to receive full permits in Mission Viejo and will be used by the city as the gold standard by which to qualify future projects.


Microgrid developer named among top ten best smart grid solution providers in North America

Energy company PowerStream was named one of the ten best smart grid solution providers in North America by Energy CIO Insights magazine.

PowerStream was selected for its strategy to embrace the future of grid modernization — a future with fewer large, central generating assets and more distributed generation resources, including solar, at the ‘grid edge.’

Its current portfolio includes battery storage, microgrids, residential energy storage, solar generation and other programs that reduce strain on the grid while helping customers save money.

In partnership with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), PowerStream developed the Penetanguishene microgrid in Ontario, Canada — a utility-scaled microgrid that can provide backup power for hundreds of institutional and residential customer. The microgrid also reinforces the power grid by optimizing operational flexibility. The project will officially launch later this month and is expected to be used as a template for other utilities within North America.

It also launched Canada’s first virtual power plant, POWER.HOUSE, a residential energy storage pilot initiative involving 20 customers within its service territory who live in areas that are historically at a higher risk for outages. The energy storage project uses its aggregate fleet of solar and battery storage systems that can be autonomously controlled through intelligent software to simulate a single, larger power generating facility.

The top ten list was published as part of Energy CIO Insights’ June 2016 smart grid edition.


Despite recent slowdowns in oil and gas, the global market for new distributed natural gas-fueled generation installations is expected to reach $35.9 Billion by 2025

A report from Navigant Research finds the global market for distributed natural gas-fueled generation (DNGG) installations is positioned for growth, reaching $35.9 billion by 2025.

“DNGG is cleaner than diesel or coal generation and, unlike renewables, doesn’t rely on the sun or wind in the production of critical power,” says Adam Forni, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “With fuel prices low and environmental policies favoring natural gas, global demand is growing from a wide range of segments—from residential, to industrial, to utilities.”

In addition, DNGG’s related technologies are placed at the intersection of two of today’s biggest energy trends: the proliferation of distributed energy resources and the growing abundance of cheap oil & gas.

[clickToTweet tweet=”@NavigantRSRCH report: Global market for new DNGG installations expected to to reach $35.9 billion by 2025.” quote=”@NavigantRSRCH report: Global market for new DNGG installations expected to to reach $35.9 billion by 2025.”]

DNGG is expected to serve both the developed world and developing nations, according to the report. In the developed world, emissions regulations will help DNGG continue to displace higher-emitting incumbents like diesel generator sets, while developing nations will incorporate more DNGG to meet reliability requirements and satisfy growing electricity demand.

An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.


Dramatic price drops for solar and wind electricity: average costs could fall 59 percent by 2025

Cost has long been cited as one of the primary barriers to switching from fossil-based energy sources to renewable energy sources, but that narrative has changed, according to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

According to a report released by IRENA, the average costs for electricity generated by solar and wind technologies could decrease by between 26 and 59 percent by 2025.

The report, The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost Reduction Potential to 2025estimates that by 2025, average electricity costs could decrease:

  • 59 percent for solar photovoltaics (PV)
  • 35 percent for offshore wind, and
  • 26 percent for onshore wind compared to 2015.

Electricity prices for concentrated solar power could also decrease as much as 43 percent, depending on the technology used. By 2025, the global average cost of electricity from solar PV and onshore wind will be roughly 5 to 6 cents per kWh.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Average costs for solar, wind-generated electricity could decrease 26-59% by 2025. via @IRENA” quote=”Average costs for solar, wind-generated electricity could decrease 26-59% by 2025. via @IRENA”]

“We have already seen dramatic cost decreases in solar and wind in recent years and this report shows that prices will continue to drop, thanks to different technology and market drivers,” said Amin. “Given that solar and wind are already the cheapest source of new generation capacity in many markets around the world, this further cost reduction will broaden that trend and strengthen the compelling business case to switch from fossil fuels to renewables.”

Importantly for policymakers, cost reductions to 2025 will depend increasingly on balance of system costs (e.g. inverters, racking and mounting systems, civil works, etc.), technology innovations, operations and maintenance costs and quality project management. The focus in many countries must therefore shift to adopting policies that can reduce costs in these areas.

“Historically, cost has been cited as one of the primary barriers to switching from fossil-based energy sources to renewable energy sources, but the narrative has now changed,” said Amin. “To continue driving the energy transition, we must now shift policy focus to support areas that will result in even greater cost declines and thus maximise the tremendous economic opportunity at hand.”

Join us on Twitter @MicrogridNews for more solar plus energy storage news.

About the Author

Cara Goman

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