What is a cost-effective energy storage solution?
Energy storage is a key element in the transition that has engulfed the power sector in recent years, and which still has much further to run. The big question is how to do it in a cost-effective way.
As the world seeks to overcome its addiction to fossil fuels, wind and solar power, though intermittent, are the preferred alternatives.
The falling cost and increasing efficiency of photovoltaic panels have made solar energy even more viable as a source of renewable power, and the key issue now is solar energy storage.
The rise of renewables
Storage solutions installed onsite for business and industrial clients provide them with the opportunity to generate revenue from the supply of services to the grid while also reducing their energy costs by optimising their consumption, this is possible thanks to a storage system, controlled by intelligent software.
Head of Flexibility Solutions
Distributed generation and solar battery storage systems
In the commercial and industrial world, solar energy storage is coming to the fore as an important part of another piece of the transition puzzle. This is distributed generation, which is a cornerstone of the transition and one of those cutting-edge technologies that are fast changing the way power is generated, stored and consumed. Distributed generation typically means assets held at customer facilities that may feed power generated by wind or solar energy into the grid. These bring with them two main challenges: changeability and controlling output power. Solar energy battery storage offers a solution to these issues by warehousing power when it is abundant and cheap and releasing it when energy is scarce or expensive.
Battery storage can also smooth supplies to the grid from on-site generation assets such as arrays of solar panels, helping insulate it from the risk of power surges. This is important because it helps protect the network. The transition is turning energy consumers into producers, creating so-called prosumers, part of the decentralized system that is evolving and able to benefit from it.
The different meter systems
In 2018, the market for storage systems totaled about 9 GW, with the lion’s share – 5.6 GW – in so-called “front of the meter” systems that typically stand between the consumer and the grid and are captive to the supply of network services.
“Behind the meter” systems are instead internal to the user’s facility and work independently of the grid, although where regulation permits, they may be connected to it and supply it. These BtM systems accounted for capacity of about 3.4 GW in total, of which 1.5 GW are in the retail and industrial sectors. Both FtM and BtM areas are expected to grow at a 25% clip, though in general the storage arena is still highly fragmented, with the 10 largest local markets accounting for about 75% of the global marketplace.
Enel X solar energy storage systems
Solar energy storage systems deliver effective cost control as well as energy management solutions that can be integrated into the strategic management of companies’ exposure to the grid. At Enel X we have a long history in solar energy, and we want to use it to help revolutionize the way in which the sun’s power is harnessed, stored, and consumed.
Our focus is on lithium-ion batteries, which are the most mainstream and cost-effective solar energy storage solutions.