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What Are Energy Storage Systems and How Are They Installed?

Energy storage systems are an innovative way to store electricity more efficiently. Think of it as battery equipment with a larger capacity and structured storage operation. If you have a renewable energy installation, an energy storage system will help you save the generated electricity.

Solar panels, for instance, can generate around 1.5 kWh for 5 hours on a 290-watt solar panel with enough direct sunlight. In a year, you’d have more or less 850 kWh of available electricity. However, do you use the electricity from the solar panel as soon as you generate it? What about if it’s a cloudy day giving you a less-than-ideal condition to generate electricity from a solar panel?

You can maximize your renewable power source and even the backup generator on your facility by having an energy storage system. These devices allow you to store the bulk of electricity generated from various sources.

While it’s beneficial for those who want to store energy for future use, these devices are still new to the market. Not a lot of people have heard about stationary energy storage systems. However, BloombergNEF (BNEF) predicts that more entities will invest up to $40 billion to meet the demand for 4,584 GWh of energy storage by 2040. With that, let’s examine what energy systems do and why you would need to have them installed in your facility.

What Is an Energy Storage System?

Energy storage systems are devices that allow you to store energy. Abbreviated as ESS, the set of equipment takes power from a source to a form and then converted back to electricity when needed.

There are many ways to store energy from a source, which can either be any of its three main types:

  1. Electrical energy storage – using either pumped hydro or batteries.
  2. Thermal storage – in cases where the final energy output needed is heat.
  3. Material storage – through tangible storage of gas or controllable virtual storage systems.

For most residential and commercial applications, it’s the electrical energy storage that they need the most in their facilities. The stationary energy storage systems fit their need for an efficient and safe storage operation.

The common need to have an energy storage system is when you have a renewable power source. Having a renewable energy installation means you will need a separate device to store the energy. Whether you use a generator or photovoltaic solar panels, it’s important to store the electricity you generate from these power sources. Generating energy from a backup generator or solar installations can be stored efficiently with an energy storage system. After which, you can readily use them to power your equipment.

With an energy storage system, you’ll have available electricity 24-7 coming from the renewable power source. It will make you rely less on the grid and thereby reduce utility costs.

Even the U.S. Energy Department has a dedicated energy storage program from its Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE). The program aims to facilitate research and development and to encourage the use of these devices.

With its support from the government and private manufacturers producing these devices, you may ask about the other objectives of having an energy storage system. Let’s explore further.

What Are the Main Objectives of Energy Storage?

The primary purpose of having an energy storage system is to store energy from a power source. Having an energy storage system complements renewable power installations in storing energy efficiently. Aside from its energy storage function, it also has other benefits. These devices allow you to store, convert and use electricity effectively.

Energy efficiency

Consuming electricity can be more efficient when you have an energy storage system. You don’t have to worry about the generator running out of fuel or limited sunlight from the PV solar panels. The energy storage system will be the one to store electricity efficiently so you can use them as needed.

While generating energy from a generator or solar panel, the device will help you store adequate power from its battery modules. And when you need to use electricity, the energy storage system converts them without wasting energy during the conversion process.

Absorb short-term fluctuations

Fluctuations happen when there’s an abrupt change from the grid to the renewable power source. With energy storage systems, you can effectively manage these fluctuations leading to less wastage of electricity from both sources.

Energy storage devices absorb these short-term fluctuations when you’re switching between the main grid to the alternative power source. The energy storage system has fewer power fluctuations than directly transferring power from the generator or solar panels.

Reduce emissions

The increased reliance on fossil fuels to generate power is one concern that energy storage systems address. Instead of wasting large amounts of electricity, an energy storage system aids in decarbonization. You’ll emit fewer emissions as the energy is stored efficiently and only accessed when needed.

Stored power means you don’t have to use electricity from the grid more extensively than before. It complements well with your existing renewable energy installations.

Increased use of renewable energy

Energy storage systems connect to renewable energy sources either from a backup generator or solar panels. This system of storing energy for future use encourages renewable energy as a primary source of electricity.

Renewable energy is a greener solution to generate electricity. And with an energy storage system, it will be easier for you to use the stored power coming from the renewable power source.

Examples of Electrical Energy Storage Devices

1. Generac PWRCELL

Generac is known for producing backup generator equipment. Their PWRCELL device is an energy storage system with energy monitoring technology. It has a standard battery cabinet and adjustable module for flexible capacity.

The available battery modules in the Generac PWRCELL energy storage system can handle a load of 9kWh for its three-piece modules and up to 18kWh for the six-piece battery system. Additionally, they also have an energy monitoring technology added to the device so you can use the stored power efficiently during a power outage.

2. Tesla Powerwall/Powerpack

If you need an energy storage system for an EV charger or large-scale operations, Tesla has a Powerpack device that you can use to store adequate electricity. The electric car manufacturer provides an energy storage system with integrated battery pods for DC-DC conversion.

This energy storage system from Tesla has a flexible and scalable battery module. They call it battery pods containing 16 individual modules. The device has an integrated DC converter for each pod, allowing you to switch the array and modify the kilowatt capacity as needed.

3. VoltStorage

Another example of an energy storage system is the battery device from VoltStorage. The manufacturer uses vanadium redox flow (VRF) technology for its stationary flow batteries.

VoltStorage claims that its VRF technology is a solution for energy storage for the mass market. It works well for private homes that need an energy storage system that is stationary. Commercial facilities can also have this energy storage device as the technology is non-flammable and operates safely despite storing large amounts of electricity.

How Do You Install Energy Storage Systems?

Installing an energy storage system needs the help of a trusted and reliable electrical contractor. Their skills and expertise are crucial in choosing the right device and installing them on your premises.

Energy storage systems are still a new tech that homes and commercial facilities have just started to use. Thus, it’s best to have an electrical contractor install these devices. They know which energy storage system will fit your electrical systems and connect them to your power source.

Electrical contractors can assess the energy requirements of your home or commercial facility. As energy storage systems are still new, they can recommend which device or technology is more appropriate for your property.

In Minnesota, you can consult with contractors from Power Partner MN. The expert advice and technical expertise of its contractors will help you in energy storage systems installation. Their well-trained electricians go through continuous training to educate them about new developments in the electrical industry. Thus, you can have energy storage systems installed properly and reap the benefits of storing electricity right within your vicinity.