Solar Energy and Battery Storage Coupled Provide Demand Response & Utility Peak Shaving

Borrego Solar, a developer, and Stem, an energy storage firm, discuss when PV, storage or both will benefit commercial customers the most.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.greentechmedia.com

>” […] Thanks to advancements in technology, there are more energy solutions available to consumers. As a result, the confusion about which option to choose — solar, storage or solar-plus-storage — is growing.

Utility energy costs

To understand the benefits of energy storage and solar at a customer facility, it’s essential to first understand the elements of most organizations’ utility energy costs: energy charges and demand charges. This is the bread and butter for energy managers, but many leaders in finance and/or operations aren’t as aware of the energy cost mix — despite it being one of their largest budgetary line items. It should be noted that this billing structure isn’t in place in every market.

Energy charges, the price paid for the amount of energy used over the course of the billing cycle, are how most people think of paying for electricity. A price is paid for every kilowatt-hour used. Demand charges are additional charges incurred by most commercial customers and are determined by the highest amount of energy, in kilowatts, used at any instant or over some designated timeframe — typically a 15-minute interval — in that billing cycle.

Demand charges are a bit more complex. They come from a need for the grid infrastructure to be large enough to accommodate the highest amount of energy, or demand, needed at any moment in order to avoid a blackout. Every region is different, but demand charges typically make up somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of an electricity bill for commercial customers.

Why storage?

Intelligent storage can help organizations specifically tackle their demand charges. By combining predictive software and battery-based storage, these systems know when to deploy energy during usage peaks and offset those costly demand charges. Most storage systems run completely independently from solar, so they can be added to a building whether or not solar is present.

Storage can reduce demand charges by dispensing power during brief periods of high demand, which in essence shaves down the peaks, or spikes, in energy usage. Deploying storage is economical under current market conditions for load profiles that have brief spikes in demand, because a relatively small battery can eliminate the short-lived peaks.

For peak demand periods of longer duration, a larger, and considerably more expensive, battery would be needed, and with the higher material costs, the economics may not be cost-effective. As system costs continue to decline, however, a broader range of load profiles will be able to save with energy storage.

Why solar?

For the commercial, industrial or institutional energy user, solar’s value proposition is pretty simple. For most facilities in states with high energy costs and a net metering regime in place, onsite solar can reduce energy charges and provide a hedge against rising electricity costs. The savings come primarily from producing/buying energy from the solar system, which reduces the amount of energy purchased from the utility, and — when the installation produces more than is used — the credit from selling the excess energy to the grid at retail rates.

The demand savings are a relatively small part of the benefit of solar because the timing of solar production and peak demand need to line up in order to cut down demand charges. Solar production is greatest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but the peak period (when demand for energy across the grid is highest) is typically from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. If demand-charge rates are determined by the highest peak incurred, customers with solar will still fall into higher demand classes from their energy usage later in the day, when solar has less of an impact.

That being said, solar can reduce a significant portion of demand charges if the customer is located within a utility area where solar grants access to new, solar-friendly rate schedules. These rate schedules typically reduce demand charges and increase energy charges, so the portion of the utility bill that solar can impact is larger.  […]”<

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Energy Efficiency is Key to Educational Institutions’ Core Mission

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new study … energy efficiency is recognized among U.S. higher education institutions as key to fulfilling their schools’ core mission, with almost 9 out of 10 respondents expecting to increase or maintain energy efficiency investments next year.

Photo:  Lillis Complex, University of Oregon

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.prnewswire.com

>” […] Eighty-eight percent of respondents also agree that energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to meet their energy needs while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting costs.

The biggest factor driving schools’ energy efficiency efforts is cost savings, according to the survey conducted with higher education facility leaders, with environmental benefits and industry standards rounding out the top three reasons for becoming more energy efficient. However, obstacles exist to achieving these objectives. While 92 percent of respondents stated that their school had a culture that encourages energy efficiency practices, organizational barriers are challenging their ability to achieve efficiency goals. Fifty-nine percent view this as the biggest obstacle, with insufficient funding and lack of a clear definition of success also ranking highly.

Another factor impacting institutions is aging infrastructure, with 59 percent indicating that the average age of their buildings exceeds 15 years, and only one in five reporting that the average age of their building is below 10 years. As facility leaders look to upgrade existing buildings, compatibility with new technology ranks as most important when considering making an investment. Compatibility with legacy systems outranked quality of the product and technology advancements of the solution.

“A majority of the higher education buildings that stand today are expected to be in operation for the next few decades,” said Tara Canfield, Segment Director, Education and Commercial Office Buildings at Schneider Electric. “Tremendous opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste in these existing buildings. In particular, by integrating building systems, facility managers can view energy use from a single interface, identify long-term opportunities for savings and continuously optimize their facility to yield the highest levels of efficiency over time. This integration also enables organizations to better use data from the Internet of Things, turning building insights into meaningful action that will improve operations.” […]

This survey was conducted by Redshift Research in June 2015 among 150 U.S. facilities leaders in higher educational establishments. Respondents have responsibility related to purchasing energy solutions, and their biggest responsibilities included facility management and operations management. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. […]”<

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Venture Capital from GE, Autodesk Invest in Smart Building Technology Boom

Sales of smart building technologies almost could triple to $17.4 billion between 2014 and 2019. That’s driving a flood of investment from corporations and venture capitalists alike.

Source: www.greenbiz.com

>” […] As of this week, you can add cloud software company Lucid to the list of energy-efficiency startups — particularly those that monitor building power consumption for lighting and climate-control systems — attracting substantial cash infusions this year.

Among those contributing to the $14.2 million Series B round disclosed by Lucid this week: GE Ventures, Autodesk, Formation 8 and Zetta Venture Partners.

Lucid plans to use the new funds for enhancements to BuildingOS, a cloud service that analyzes data from more than 160 hardware and software building technologies.

“Lucid’s technology is rapidly connecting many disparate building systems together, making the vision of truly connected buildings and real-time management possible,” said Ben Sampson, an associate with GE Ventures.

Its reference accounts include Genentech, along with more than a half-dozen educational institutions such as Cornell University and Stanford University.

Lucid joins a respectable list of companies attracting private capital this year, as businesses and organizations become more comfortable with gathering data from the Internet of Things.

Research firm Mercom Capital Group reports that startups focused on smart grid and energy efficiency raised more than $325 million in the first quarter.

Two deals last quarter that explicitly focused on building management or analytics: Blue Pillar, which scored a $14 million deal after more than 250 deployments; and Enbala Power Networks, which raised $11 million.

All told, the last year has been incredibly active in the sector, reaching $944 million in 2014. Those investments covered more than 111 deals at a time when the broader field of cleantech has suffered a decline in available capital, according to a separate report from Lux Research.

“While cleantech is declining from its peak of 291 deals in 2008, building energy deals have risen steadily since then, growing by 208 percent over the same period,” Lux wrote in its presentation about funding trends.

One of the more notable deals over the past two years was Distech Controls, which raised about $37 million in May 2013. […]

Why so active?

The spike in funding reflects the rather bullish revenue projects for building energy management technologies over the next decade. Depending on how broadly you view the market, projections vary dramatically.

If you focus just on building energy management, revenue is likely to reach around $2.4 billion this year, growing almost fivefold to $10.8 billion by 2024, according to the forecast from Navigant Research.

Players in the space include not only a slew of startups, but also multinational companies such as Siemans and Intel.

“Building energy management systems (BEMS) represent an important evolutionary step in the approach to facilities and operations management,” said Casey Talon, senior analyst, commenting on that projection. “As the market matures, more integrated and sophisticated BEMS solutions are delivering energy efficiency improvements while also enabling comprehensive business intelligence and strategic management.”

Indeed, if you consider smart buildings from a more holistic perspective, the growth potential is much larger — up to $17.4 billion by 2019, compared with $6.3 billion last year, according to IDC Energy Insights. In North America, spending is being driven by large corporate operational efficiency initiatives. “<

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Arduino based solar power controller to take home appliances off grid

Where’s the middle ground between having a small solar charger for your gadgets, and having a rooftop solar array capable of powering your entire house? The UNplug might know.

Source: www.treehugger.com

>” […] The UNplug solar controller was invented by Markus Löffler in response to his own power blackout experience, where several days without electricity meant a lot of spoiled food. Löffler, an entrepreneur and software engineer living in Altadena, California, developed the UNplug device to serve as a simple and inexpensive way to begin going solar, because it serves as the brain of a micro-solar system, starting as small as a single solar panel and a small battery bank. […]

During the day, UNplug feeds electricity from the solar panel into the appliances connected to it, and charges the battery bank, and then when the sun goes down, it seamlessly switches over those devices to using grid power. In the event of a blackout, UNplug then powers those same appliances from the battery bank, allowing certain crucial electricity needs to continue to be met during an outage.

The UNplug could allow homes to take at least some of their daily electrical loads off the grid, such as the fridge or other household devices, while also serving as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in the event of a power outage. The device doesn’t function all by itself, of course, and requires solar panels, batteries, an inverter, and other accessories, but according to Löffler’s campaign page, a small system could be set up for an additional $570 or so, on top of the cost of the UNplug, so the entire investment could be under $1000. (His shopping list is here.) […]”<

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Bosch Buys Arizona Building Technology Firm

“Climatec is an independent single-source integrator of critical building systems including energy services, building automation and security system integration in the U.S. market. The company provides consulting, planning, implementation and around-the-clock remote management of comprehensive comfort, security, safety and efficiency solutions. Climatec is active in education, healthcare, the public sector, industrial/manufacturing, computing services, office buildings, federal, state and local government, hospitality and energy.”

TechCentury.com

FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington Hills-based Robert Bosch North America Corp. has acquired Climatec LLC, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based provider of energy efficiency, building automation, security and safety products and services.

Climatec generated sales of $170 million in 2013, and according to preliminary figures hit $190 million in sales in 2014. The company employs 670 people at 12 offices in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas.

Climatec has been owned by Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P. since April 2012. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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Smart Building Investment to Reach $17.4B by 2019

According to a new IDC Energy Insights report, “Business Strategy: Global Smart Building Technology Spending 2015–2019 Forecast,”* smart building technology spending will grow from $6.3 billion in 2014 to $17.4 billion in 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate of 22.6 percent. The most aggressive adoption will be in Asia/Pacific, North America, and Western Europe.   …Continue Reading

Source: www.energymanagertoday.com

>”[…]

After several years of slower-than-expected growth, the smart building technology market is expected to grow rapidly as there is increasingly broad market awareness of the business value. Smart buildings enable facility optimization through the convergence of information technology and building automation.

In developing this forecast, several trends were identified. One trend is that vertical industries have a large impact on the rate of adoption of smart building technologies. Buildings managed in the government or healthcare verticals, for example, tend to be more mature in their appreciation of the benefits of smart buildings and more advanced in their deployment. Secondly, investments over the past several years have focused on HVAC systems. Customers are now beginning to expand their evaluation to lighting, plug load, equipment maintenance and other issues.

From a geographic perspective, North America will continue to implement smart building technology driven largely by corporate objectives of controlling and reducing energy costs. Many European nations will continue to expand their investments in smart building technology, driven by continued EU and local governmental regulations. And within Asia/Pacific, China’s rapid building boom continues apace, resulting in new construction with many smart building capabilities designed in from the beginning.”<

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“Behind the Meter” Energy Storage Solution Manages Peak Demand Charges for Buildings

Sharp Electronics Corporation’s […] 30 kW storage system is coupled with Baker’s existing 90 kW solar PV system. Baker Electric, a key channel ally of Sharp, has selected theSmartStorage® solution to help cap expensive utility demand charges for its commercial building customers.

Source: www.marketwired.com

>” […]

Peak demand charges are the fastest growing part of utility bills for commercial and industrial customers and can represent up to 50 percent of a company’s monthly utility bill. The SmartStorage® energy storage solution is a unique battery-based demand management system designed to reduce commercial and industrial buildings’ peak electricity use. It combines Sharp’s intelligent energy management system with cutting-edge hardware, operating seamlessly as a stand-alone solution or when deployed along with a solar system.

“Baker Electric brings decades of experience offering innovative technologies to its customers, including solar solutions in recent years. Their PV solutions coupled with our SmartStorage® energy storage solution provide a powerful duo for building owners wanting to lower peak demand usage without disrupting their day-to-day operations,” commented Carl Mansfield, General Manager of Sharp Electronics Corporation’s Energy Systems and Services Group.

The SmartStorage® system employs sophisticated, predictive analytics and controls to manage the release of energy from the battery, resulting in high performance, high system efficiency and world-class reliability. The SmartStorage® system can also make existing solar installations economically viable where they otherwise would not be.

Baker Electric’s SmartStorage® system installation is backed by Sharp’s innovative 10-year Asset Management Service Agreement which provides all routine and unscheduled maintenance coupled with a 10-year demand reduction performance guarantee.

“Our customers have come to expect the highest quality, highest performing products available on the market. After an exhaustive search in identifying the best solution to help lower demand charges for our customers and our own facility, we chose Sharp’s SmartStorage® system, not only because it exceeds the quality standards we are known for, but because we also have confidence in Sharp standing behind its product by offering its unique 10-year Asset Management Service Agreement and performance guarantee,” said Ted Baker, CEO of Baker Electric.

The SmartStorage® energy storage solution has undergone more than 18 months of field testing benefitting from Sharp’s world-class attention to quality and safety. The energy storage component of Sharp’s SmartStorage® system consists of state-of-the art lithium-ion batteries, which have been tested, listed and labeled as compliant with UL safety standards.

[…]”<

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Smart Grid Testbed For Industrial Electrical Grid Innovation

Industrial Internet Consortium announces first energy-focused testbed.

Source: www.cbronline.com

The Communication and Control Testbed for Microgrid Applications, the first energy-focused testbed, was today [Mar 27/2015] announced by the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Member organisations including Real-Time Innovations (RTI), National Instruments, and Cisco, will collaborate on the project, working with power utility firms CPS Energy and Southern California Edison. Additionally, Duke Energy and power industry organisation Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) will be also involved.

In order to put an end to renewable energy waste in neighbourhoods or businesses, a new architectural innovation was found to be needed.

Today’s power grid relies on a central-station architecture, which is not designed to interconnect distributed and renewable power sources such as roof-top solar and wind turbines. The system must over-generate power to compensate for rapid variation in power generation or demands.

The Communication and Control Testbed will introduce the flexibility of real-time analytics and control to increase efficiencies, ensuring that power is generated more accurately and reliably to match demand.

The solution proposes re-architecting electric power grids to include a series of distributed microgrids which will control smaller areas of demand with distributed generation and storage capacity.

These microgrids will operate independently from the main electric power grid, but will still interact and be coordinated with the existing infrastructure.

In order to ensure a coordinated, accepted architecture based on modern, cross-industry industrial internet technologies, companies taking part in the venture will work with Duke Energy and SGIP.

The Communications and Control framework will be developed in three phases, with initial developments being tested in Southern California Edison’s Controls Lab in Westminster, CA.

The final stage of the project will culminate in a field deployment that will take place at CPS Energy’s “Grid-of-the-Future” microgrid test area in San Antonio, Texas.

Stan Schneider, RTI’s CEO and IIC Steering Committee member, said: “The smart grid is a critical infrastructure component of the Industrial Internet of Things.

“The IIoT will span industries, sensor to cloud, power to factory, and road to hospital. This key first step will address a significant barrier to the efficient use of green energy.” […]”<

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Microsoft Uses Big Data To Manage Buildings and Facilities

MicrosoftCampus

“My initial expectation was that we would see the return on investment in terms of driving down our energy costs, and we have seen that,” says Pittenger, to whom Smith reports. “What wasn’t part of my expectations was the gains we would have in operational efficiencies and our abilities to do repairs and maintenance much, much better and much, much smarter.”

Source: www.facilitiesnet.com

Image:  http://news.microsoft.com/2009/11/23/california-coding-microsoft-campus-in-silicon-valley-turns-10/

>” […] Over those 125 buildings on the main Microsoft campus, there are more than 30,000 building systems components — assets, in Smith’s terms — and more than 2 million points where building systems ranging from HVAC to lighting to power monitoring are connected to sensors. In a 24-hour period, those systems produce half a billion data transactions. Each one is small, but when you’re talking about half a billion of something, all those 1s and 0s add up pretty quickly.

But what’s important is being able to do something with those 1s and 0s, which Microsoft could not do until recently because of the mess of systems involved, says Jim Sinopoli, managing principal, Smart Buildings, who helped set up the software pilot program.

“You have an opportunity, if you’re building a new campus or a new building, to really start with a clean slate,” he says. “But you go in these existing buildings and you generally will come upon some unforeseen obstacles.”

The project turned out to be a relatively easy sell. First, Pittenger’s background is financial, so being able to show a strong ROI was a definite plus for Smith, because his boss understands exactly what that means when it comes time to ask for funding. Second, facilities management at Microsoft benefits from a company culture that considers every department to be a key player.

“(CEO) Steve Ballmer likes to say, ‘There are no support organizations at Microsoft,'” Pittenger says. “Everybody is fundamental to the core mission of the company. And we feel that way.”

After gaining approval, the first step was deciding how those obstacles would be overcome. Smith and his team began by writing out 195 requirements for the new way of operating and what their ultimate tool would be able to do. Then they proceeded to look around for an off-the-shelf solution that would be able to do all those things — and failed to find one. So, they built it.

More specifically, they worked with three vendors in a pilot program, encompassing 2.6 million square feet, to build an “analytics blanket” of fault detection algorithms that is layered on top of the different building management systems and reports back to the operations center. If Building 17 and Building 33 have different building management systems, those systems may not be able to talk to each other or provide data to a single reporting system in the operations center. But they can talk to the analytics blanket, which can take the information from every building and combine it into a single output in the operations center. It’s not a replacement for the BMS; instead, it’s adding on functionality that enhances the benefits of the existing BMS.”<

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US Utilities #1 Priority is to Replace and Modernize Old Grid Infrastructure

The State of the Electric Utility 2015 survey revealed that aging infrastructure is what troubles industry players most.

Source: www.utilitydive.com

>” Utility executives identified aging infrastructure as the number one challenge facing the electric industry, […] easily topping an aging workforce, regulatory models and stagnant load growth. In response, the industry is spending hundreds of billions to replace and upgrade infrastructure, rushing to meet consumer demand for higher quality power enabled by construction of a more modern grid.

“The last few years there’s been more of an emphasis on transmission and distribution, and the driver there has been the advent of all these new technologies that are trying to connect with the grid,” said Richard McMahon, Jr., vice president of energy supply and finance for the Edison Electric Institute, the electric utility trade organization. “There are also a lot of customer-driven desires utilities are trying to facilitate. There’s a lot of spending on metering automation, as well as at the distribution level, distribution transformers to accommodate distributed generation.”

Today’s grid may not be up to the task of reliably integrating high levels of renewables, distributed energy resources, and smart grid technologies, Utility Dive found. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. energy infrastructure a barely passing grade of D+ in 2013, at stark odds with the sophisticated grid management required by the rapid acceleration of utility-scale renewables, distributed resources and two-way devices.

“Distributed energy cannot be a profit center without the modernized grid infrastructure that’s needed for grid integration,” Utility Dive concluded in the report. […]

Outages on the rise

The American Society of Civil Engineers report that gave U.S. infrastructure a barely-passing grade pointed out that aging equipment “has resulted in an increasing number of intermittent power disruptions, as well as vulnerability to cyber attacks.”

Significant power outages rose to more than 300 in 2011, up from about 75 in 2007, and the report found many transmission and distribution outages have been attributed to system operations failures, though from 2007 to 2012 water was the primary cause of major outages.

“While 2011 had more weather-related events that disrupted power, overall there was a slightly improved performance from the previous years,” the report said. “Reliability issues are also emerging due to the complex process of rotating in new energy sources and ‘retiring’ older infrastructure.

ASCE said that for now, the United States has sufficient capacity to meet demands, but from 2011 through 2020 demand for electricity in all regions is expected to increase 8% or 9%. The report forecasts that the U.S. will add 108 GW of generation by 2016.

“After 2020, capacity expansion is forecast to be a greater problem, particularly with regard to generation, regardless of the energy resource mix,” the report said. “Excess capacity, known as planning reserve margin, is expected to decline in a majority of regions, and generation supply could dip below resource requirements by 2040 in every area except the Southwest without prudent investments.” […]”<

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