It’s one of the oldest critiques of solar power since the first panel was wheeled out of the factory and angled toward the sun. Solar power only works when the sun is shining.
That is certainly a fair point. However, it’s been a while since facilities have relied exclusively on the sun to harness and utilize the renewable energy abundant in nature. Energy storage has improved in leaps and bounds over the past two decades, offering competitive and now cost-effective ways to essentially keep the sun shining twenty-four hours a day.
Energy storage offers myriad benefits, but we can boil them down to three main perks that make renewables viable. First, energy storage allows for an effective balancing of energy loads on a grid or facility. Much like load shedding in a more traditional sense, load balancing allows stored electricity to adjust to peak loads and reduce the overall operational costs. There’s also evidence that facilities may be able to run entirely on renewables or stored energy during low-draw hours, too, which can lower costs even more.
Second, stored energy can help to plug the gaps. From passing clouds or weather systems to brief disruptions in generation, plugging into energy reserves can avoid energy spikes that can be costly and often inefficient.
Like short-term disruptions, storage can also be a lifesaver when it comes to longer-term energy outages. From blackouts to natural disasters, energy storage can not only allow for production in a facility, but allow a grid to keep the lights on and water running in a community stricken by tornadoes, hurricanes, or other seismic events.
At grid-scale, the United States enjoyed another banner year in 2020, one of the few bright spots in an energy industry facing a pandemic, huge changes in demand, and an uncertain future in regards to a presidential election. In the third quarter of the year alone, the US rolled out an additional 476 MW of storage capacity, a massive 240% increase on the previous quarterly record.
The future of energy storage will come at every level of the power environment. Home-based storage for residential, single-building, and facilities will grow as smaller batteries become more efficient and can be plugged into smaller, locally-focused renewable grids. At the true grid-scale, engineers will develop more efficient storage solutions that may even become more suited for different types of generation.
Right now, we’re building facilities with energy storage to solve all of these energy challenges and reduce the everyday costs of doing business. From cannabis facilities to office buildings, leaders are taking control of their energy future like never before and adopting the technology to make it happen.
Want to learn more about the benefits of energy storage for your facility? Let’s talk.