Installation of solar photovoltaics and other small scale renewables by householders is a growing trend, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, contributing editor to Engerati, the sister portal to Metering.com.
But given that many of these householders are out at work during the day when the sun is shining and the energy is being generated, they are unable to benefit from that energy without some form of storage.
Advances in technology and declining costs are now making such storage more accessible to homeowners.
But like any new technology, the details need ironing out – for example what is the optimum size of the storage, and to what extent could utilities draw on the stored energy?
Now forward-looking utilities are starting to investigate some of these issues.
In February Salt River Project in Arizona announced a project to investigate the role of residential storage in peak load reduction, and now Duke Energy in Indiana is sinking US$1 million into a project to better understand various aspects of residential storage. [Storage For Solar Customers At Salt River Project – Making It Successful and Duke Energy Puts US$1m Into Energy Storage Research]
Ultimately small scale storage – whether at individual residences, businesses or potentially at a street or community level – will become another form of distributed generation in the network, alongside electric vehicles and utility-scale storage. With it will come both threats but also opportunities for utilities, and those most likely to benefit will be those with the best understanding of what the technology has to offer.
More from Engerati
Martin Hauske, Managing Director for Accenture Smart Grid Services in Asia Pacific, who will be speaking at Asian Utility Week 2015, explains how distribution utilities are becoming intelligent grid operators and distribution platform integrators.
The US Energy Department (DOE) is investing $1.8 million in research and development of technological innovations to improve the manufacturing, transportation, and assembly of wind turbine blades longer than 60m which are believed to harness even more wind power.
Current technology and market changes are breaking utility models, not years from now but today . Engerati’s upcoming webinar From Utility to Energy Services Company-Fighting Back with New Ideas, discusses how utilities are working with disruptive technologies and models to change the game.
ABB and Samsung have signed a Memorandum of Understanding “to promote microgrid solutions globally.” The two companies will establish a global commercial alliance to develop and market modular and scalable microgrid solutions, utilizing lithium-ion batteries for energy storage.
A number of emerging trends indicate that the interaction between Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and Distribution System Operators (DSOs) will evolve in the coming years. Among these is the increasing volume of distributed generation being connected to the distribution grid.