There is a lot of buzz about batteries entering the market these days. As Heuch are solar system designers and installers, we are frequently asked about whether battery systems are cost effective to add to their solar systems.
In the domestic market, batteries are just getting to the stage where they can become a financially viable solution. A chance to store all that power that your solar system has been harvesting during the day. Constantly dropping in prices and improvements in capacity has brought this within reach.
But what about the commercial and industrial market? Is it cost effective as well?
A typical small to medium sized business runs during the daylight hours, conveniently during the same hours that the sun is shining and a solar system is producing power. In this case, your business really doesn’t have too much need for batteries, because you are consuming the power as it is being produced.
This isn’t to say that some batteries WOULDN’T benefit a business in this position, but rather that you could look at a much smaller battery system. Something that runs the overnight loads only and charges during the day such as the staff refrigerator, a UPS for your network and the security lights and systems.
With just solar and nil battery, it just means that earlier in the mornings, later in the afternoons, on overcast days and for overnight loads, you’ll pay to import electricity, which is still a long way better than importing power during 100% of normal business hours.
If you run your business outside of the traditional “9-5” hours, as is common in manufacturing and shift working, then batteries can work in conjunction with a solar system by charging during the daylight hours and discharging at night to provide light and power for your premises, reducing your electricity import costs.
For facilities and sites that run with a generator, running the engines at less than optimum levels will damage both efficiency ratings as well as reduce the operational life of the motor itself. Batteries can help improve asset life in this case by allowing the generator system to run at optimum levels by fast charging the batteries, then shut down, allowing a facility to run from the battery power. This saves money on generator maintenance and can drastically reduce fuel expenditure.
There are some sites that can’t risk not having alternate power backup! High stock values in controlled environments or sites that are remote, bushfire prone or subject to frequent blackouts, for example. This could be in any industry too, from pharmaceutical manufacturers with temperature critical stock to the general store with ice-cream & icy poles.
While a dedicated back-up system may lay dormant for a period of time, batteries covering an extended blackout can pay for themselves in part everyday and then in a single event by saving high value stock from spoilage, expiring or in lost income.
Many critical operations like data centres, petrochemical facilities and telecommunications are already implementing these redundancies tactics at many of their sites.
Batteries certainly have their advantages in the commercial and industrial sectors, and with prices on electrical storage coming down by the day, it could be time to engage your electrical contractor of choice to see how they could benefit your business.
To discuss how you might be able to reduce your energy expenditures, contact Heuch on 03 9793 6088.