Energy storage for demand-charge management can be asmart investment, according to research performed by NREL, which used the Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST) to pair recent utility rate structures with historical energy data on photovoltaic electricity generation and commercial facility loads. The research demonstrates that without considering the impact of incentives, small battery systems that cut peak demand by 2.5% offer the best ROI for building professionals.
Noting that demand charges can take up over 50% of a commercial consumer’s electricity bill, the NREL researchers used a Behind-the-Meter version of the BLAST system on 6,860 unique scenarios to identify energy storage system configurations that could cut costs. Small battery systems were chosen as the best choice when both ROI and payback period were considered together. The BLAST BTM-Lite tool is available online.
“Batteries for demand-charge reduction are the most cost effective under today’s rate structures when configured for higher power-to-energy ratios, targeting discharge durations from 30 minutes to one hour. State or utility incentives are often necessary to make longer duration, lower power-to-energy ratio systems more attractive,” says Jeremy Neubauer, energy storage task leader for NREL.