Solar-plus-storage: 3 reasons why they’re better together
Adding storage to your commercial on-site solar power asset is a numbers game. When you save on your overall electricity bill, you definitely come out ahead. Here are three reasons to add storage to your solar PV:
Reason #1: Use solar when you need it most (even if it’s cloudy)
Most utilities have time-based rates for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, which means you pay more when the grid is delivering at its peak capacity. For summer-peaking utilities, that’s generally late afternoon.
With a storage system connected to your solar array, you can store some of your solar generation when rates are low and discharge the battery to lower your grid-supplied energy consumption when grid power costs rise. This is known as time shifting your energy usage, and it’s a great way to improve the ROI on your solar investments.
In the graph above, an industrial customer with higher electricity costs between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. uses solar power to charge a battery storage system from 7:00 a.m. until noon. Later in the day, this same facility uses that stored power to extend use of its solar generation into those high-priced hours, thereby lowering power costs overall, as shown by the blue shape in the top right quadrant of the graphic.
Reason #2: Supersize your solar
If you’re a utility with a large solar installation and no associated storage, you have a constraint: You can only generate as much solar power as the transmission lines and grid interconnection you’re using can accommodate.
The same is true for a business with solar power installed. You can only have as much solar as you’re able to use at your own peak consumption level. Again, you have a constraint, and it may mean you’re stuck using grid power for part of the day when you’d rather be relying on your own clean, lower-cost, energy.