What to Look for When You’re Looking for an Energy Storage System

There’s no question that battery-based energy storage systems (ESS) can add an exciting level of cost-effectiveness and flexibility to photovoltaic (PV) systems. There are many reasons: a growing number of utilities have modified the incentives consumers receive for exporting solar system electricity back to the grid by introducing time-of-use and demand charges or shifting rate structures to assign the highest rates to evening periods. Now more than ever, the ability to self-store solar-generated power is crucial to energy independence for utility customers who want to unlock some serious power cost savings.

At Adara, we’ve been asked many times, “What are the key factors when pairing an ESS system to my solar system?” Here’s a quick checklist that can help you make a savvy choice.

Back-up. Look for a system that offers built-in back-up port and ultrafast, automatic switchover (like, under 10 milliseconds). You’ll hardly notice a power interruption.

Modular design. It’s an advantage to independently service and upgrade components like the controller, battery, or inverter, rather than having to replace the entire ESS unit to do the job.

Cloud connected. An ESS system that is monitored and controlled through the consumer’s internet connection is subject to outages and issues with firewalls, routers, etc. Look for an ESS controller that offers a cell modem and web interface for advanced software management and control.

Peak shifting. To optimally match any daily peak rate period set by PUCs and utilities, the  ESS must be able to automatically prioritize battery vs. PV vs. grid according to a remotely updatable program schedule.

Mounting. Yes, mounting! Check the weight and physical installation process. If the cabinet is going on the wall, make sure it can be handled by two people easily.

Compatibility. Does the ESS work well with solar systems built by a range of manufacturers? Ask for evidence that the product has been routinely added to a variety of existing installations.

Voltage. A 48 volt system (as opposed to a high voltage battery) generally works with widest range of solar systems and meets preferred residential electrical standards.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The best thing you can do is partner with a knowledgeable, field-proven ESS provider. Contact us about optimizing your energy-independent future.

Posted in Energy Storage Blog.