As prices for energy storage continue to creep downward, utilities are recognizing the value it brings to commercial customers for peak shaving and for the utility itself for grid balancing. This week, Duke Energy Renewables announced an alliance with Green Charge Networks, a provider of commercial energy storage for retail, industrial and government customers to provide solar customers access to energy storage solutions.
Green Charge Networks, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will work closely with solar provider REC Solar to market energy storage systems with REC’s solar projects. Initially focusing on the Southern California and Hawaiian markets, the agreement provides customers with “solar firming,” a way to smooth the peaks and valleys of a variable energy source. It also saves customers money by offsetting the higher prices of peak demand power.
Duke Energy acquired a majority interest in REC Solar and energy management company Phoenix Energy Technologies earlier this year.
“Our goal is to make it easier for customers to combine solar and storage, so they can benefit from high quality, consistent and economical power 24/7,” said Greg Wolf, president Duke Energy Renewables and Commercial Portfolio in a statement. “In addition, through Phoenix ET, we’ll also have the ability to offer other energy management systems for those customers seeking a complete and integrated energy savings platform.”
“Energy storage adds to the list of compelling reasons why businesses should go solar,” said Al Bucknam, CEO, REC Solar. “Commercial customers save money by adding energy storage to reduce their peak demand, which can account for up to 50 percent of their electricity bill.”
With a combination of lithium-ion battery technology and predictive software, Green Charge systems will draw power from the REC Solar system and the grid during off-peak hours, when electricity is inexpensive, and release it during peak hours, when electricity is more expensive.
“Energy storage is the ideal complement to REC Solar’s offering, helping customers get the most out of a sustainable resource, securing their investment through solar firming and lowering energy costs,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge Networks. “By partnering with the largest electric power holding company in the United States and REC Solar, we add momentum to our domestic expansion plans.”
See Also: The Hidden Cost of Energy Storage, a cautionary tale about a big issue in the energy storage industry.