Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.
As we know the intensity of solar radiation and wind can change randomly, means electricity generated from these resources will also change randomly without any notice. In recent years wind and solar PV have been the major drivers of new electricity generation. With this increased amount of intermittent power generation from solar and wind, energy storage is becoming an increasingly important for a number of reasons including grid stability as well as more attractive economics for project owners. Pairing of PV and storage also increase grid security/ availability, for example against natural disasters.
Storage technologies come in a variety of forms including mechanical, thermal, and chemical. Each type of storage has a variety of specific technologies that can be used, and each has unique characteristics that differentiate them for the type of energy they generate, as well as the types of power sources with which they can be integrated or connected.
Chemical storage systems are generally battery-based systems that use chemical reactions to store/convert energy. Battery based storage systems have been widely used in many small to medium size applications and has received a lot of attention recently and considered one of the best potential mechanisms for large scale centralized and distributed PV installations.
There are many different types of battery chemistries and even more under development with new progress announced frequently. Given the varying nature of this storage type, the exact makeup of the battery systems can differ widely with each technology offering its own unique benefits and usages (e.g. long-term storage versus short-term regulation).
Today distributed energy generation has emerged as a more local energy source. Instead of offering energy that locals readily can purchase, distributed energy generation creates an opportunity for local homeowners and businesses to generate their own energy directly with local resources. Doing so will put more disposable income in their hands that in turn can be spent locally to boost the local economy. Distributed energy generation systems using solar, wind, natural gas and other local energy sources are also readily available for homeowners and business to deploy.
Distributed energy generation systems also can provide an attractive investment opportunity for investors looking to generate moderate returns at relatively low risk. Local economies can benefit by providing a way for locals to generate an attractive return on their money especially given the low yields of alternative fixed income investments today by accelerating the deployment of Distributed energy generation within their communities.