When looking at the bills, people have always been focusing their attention at the reduction of the energy part, the consumption ($/kWh).
But peak power charges applied by utilities ($/kW) gave been rising by by 10+% per year over the past 5 years in the US, according to an analysis by Green Charges Network. And now it accounts for up to 50% of the bill, especially for commercial customers with high peak-hour power demand.
In that case, a storage unit might serve non just as a mean to consume peak-hours the energy that you collected at off-peak time (over the grid or from own wind or solar plants), but also to shave off the demand peaks. This way you can reduce the > 15 min peaks above the service power you have contracted – which are very expensively charged by utilities – and reduce the contracted service power altogether.
Green Charges Network claim they can even out the peaks, thus shaving a large part of those demand-charges from the bill, by coupling batteries with a smart controller fitted with stochastic data-mining sw application. They are able to offer the system on a service contract base to eliminate the upfront cost burden and to deliver pay-for-performance on demand reduction. The claim seemed convincing enough for receiving a grant from TIP Capital, an energy efficiency financing provider.
From the Rocky Mountain Institute blog. Feldheim, a small town in the corner of rural eastern Germany, 40 miles south of Berlin, may be one of the best examples of decentralized self-sufficiency. Feldheim was a communist collective farm back when Germany was still divided into East and West. Now it is a model renewable energy village putting into practice how a micro-grid can operate while generating jobs and reducing the bills.
Thanks to a joint venture between the town and a local renewable energy investor (Energiequelle Gmbh) that invested in 74 MW of wind turbines and a 700 kW biogass plant, by 2009 the community was powered 100% with renewable sources from their own production. In 2010 the town residents detached from the national grid operator (E.on) and went on to become the first German city with its own independent micro-grid.
The power in excess is fed into the high-voltage grid as a regular power plant, but the energy fed into the micro-grid costs 30% less than the average electricity cost for residents in the surrounding areas.
Sure, this is possible also because the self-produced electricity is not burdened by grid costs and overheads spread among all other grid-connected consumers. However the experiment proves that a decentralised generation is not only possible but also efficient and job-creating.
Read the original post >> here.
The Tesla CEO envisions “a plant that is heavily powered by renewables, wind and solar, and that has built into it the recycling capability for old battery packs.” According to a company’s newsletter of last week, the Tesla CEO envisions “a plant that is heavily powered by renewables, wind and solar, and that has built into it the recycling capability for old battery packs.” Tesla has a gigantic 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack, effective but expensive. But now, Tesla has is launching a plan to reduce cost through mass scale. And they have the – for now – secondary output market driven by the cousin company SolarCity, which is already integrating storage into its solar residential and commercial plants. Further info → Greentech media.
Solar City program DemandLogic is campaigning the offer of free storage systems connected to residential solar plants to even the energy draw with the solar production, thus maximising the energy self-consumption. The program hits the base in tackling the uneven price increase for energy prices in the US for the last 15 years. The SolarCity program offers no upfront costs for the batteries, which account for the larger cost for storage systems (it doesn’t say about the battery chargers and system controller yet). The provider would charge the customer with a lease for 10 years. The customer benefits  from the reduced bill costs,  the reduced share of future tariff increases, and  the side-benefit of power-outages security. We would also add to that the saving of UPSs now almost all residential customers need to protect the expensive electronics we have at home.
Some top tier string inverters manufacturers are ready to market upgrades of their grid products for off-grid mode operation.
At least for some manufacturers, this should come as a board to be plugged-in inside the case without the need to unload the inverter from the site. This is very good news, for the upgrade is rumored to come at a very low cost compared to existing island-mode inverters. The upgrades would be marketed as soon as the regulation about off-grid mode solar plants was defined in high prospect markets, like Italy.
The SMA Sunny Island 6.0H, for instance, comes a price tag around € 3.000,00 VAT excl. for installers. The product is specifically designed for off-grid applications and hosts lots of features like up-scaling flexibility, many custom configuration options and communication management. But for small residential plants who just look to increase their self-consumption amount the product is too much in terms of features and cost.
“.. clearly a growing interest from large, off grid power consumers..”
Those are the words from Juwi Solar Head of Asia-Pacific division discussing about the Australian energy landscape after the company entered the promising off-grid market there (23-01-2014). Off-grid applications and storage systems are definitely bound to be a significant piece of the puzzle in the energy scenario in many world areas with high solar yelds.
Read full post from -> Renew Economy.
News: Google is buying Nest — the maker of Internet-savvy thermostats and smoke detectors — for $3.2 billion in cash. It is about 30x the annual expected revenues! – of $ 100 million.
Nest was co-founded by Tony Fadell (the man who instigated the iPod and turned it into a company-changing business for Apple) and Matt Rogers (also an Apple alum). Read full posto from Time Tech here>> and the post from the Nest CEO here>>.
What’s amazing is that smart devices for home management – which always appeared as a dull chore for geeky husbands – are now becoming as interesting for potential web applications as home-entertainement hardware.
Test flow-battery at Harvard
This innovation promises to overcome the biggest problem of all storage technologies: the power-conversion hardware (which defines the peak battery Power) and the energy capacity (which allow for the listed Capacity) are packaged together in one unit and cannot be decoupled. The novel technology, beside being cheaper than metal-catalist electrolytes, allows independent sizing of power and capacity and therefore the storage optimization for different application.
Read all from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, photographed at UN climate talks in 2009. Image: wikimedia User: Simon Wedege.
The Bolivian government has announced that US$11 million will be invested to build the country’s first megawatt-scale solar power station. The solar park, which will have a generation capacity of between four and five megawatts, will be built in the Department of Pando, on the border with neighbouring Brazil.
The new installation will be built with the aim of reducing diesel consumption in the department. Full news here >>
The plant will operate in parallel with the diesel generators to ensure a back-up source and increase the electricity coverage of the area to the average national 85% from 65%.
Comment: hybrid projects like this one show how important hybrid systems are going to be in the energy generation scenario in South America areas currently served by diesel or gas-fired power stations. The saving in fuel and maintenance costs allow for a pay-back time about 3-4 years – depending on the local irradiation.
This prediction comes from a US-based trading advisor. Future trends for renewables:
- virtual power management as effect of smart-grids deployment;
micro-grids for buildings and communities, integrating community-renewables plants (solar/wind/biomass), storage systems and low-power grid-connection for higher resilience,
micro CHP plants on residential as complement to small solar.
We would add storage systems to the mix, as additional enhancer and enabling technology.