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Energy Storage Futures, Vol 4, Distributed PV plus Storage

image credit: NREL.gov
John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) over the last year released a multivolume study titled “Storage Futures Study,” hereafter SFS. The high level goal of this is to model energy storage systems’ implementation out to 2050.

My current intent is to track each of these volumes with a much shorter one of my own.

Section 4 of this study’s report evaluates distributed storage. Because distributed storage is almost always paired with photovoltaic (PV) solar generation, this form of generation comes along for the ride. Our Volume 4 of Energy Storage Futures is a summary of this section.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 24, 2022

Distributed storage is so valuable because if storage is going to be a big part of the future energy systems, storing it close to where it's generated maximizes value and efficiency. Are you seeing that as the long-term dominant trend, or will there be a notable rise of stakeholders who take advantage by storing electricity elsewhere where they can and waiting for the chance to tap into arbitrage? 

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John Benson on Mar 2, 2022

Hi Matt, thanks for the question.

This is a complex issue, and I think the answer is yes.

This all depends how the final new net energy metering tariffs fall out. See section 4 of this post for the latest status.

As far as residential goes, I'm planning to get PV + Storage in mid 2023. Under my current tine-of-use tariff, I would tend to use my storage to zero-out the highest (peak) tier (5PM to 8PM on weekdays) and try to keep some energy reserved for any blackouts. However, there may be a better alternative tariff by then. Since the current CPUC proceeding is in flux, I'll wait until the smoke clears and any new tariffs are defined to decide what to do.

As far as large, distributed PV + Storage users (commercial, industrial, institutional and ag), there are many variables that vary for each type of facility, so I will let them make their own decisions.

The large, centralized storage managers will provide what-ever services pay best, and there are many alternatives here too.

-John

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