Commercial Energy Storage Explained
The current jargon heard these days when discussing energy, energy savings and energy management is all about commercial energy storage. But what is exactly is “energy storage”?
Energy storage can be any technology that captures energy from an available source and stores it for future use. This means it’s converted from its captured form, converted to its “stored” form based on the technology, and then converted to another form (not necessarily its original form) for later use. One of the earliest forms of energy storage used in the commercial industry is thermal storage (ice). Thermal facilities used grid electricity to make ice at night during less expensive (off peak) times. This ice was then used to provide space cooling for offices and buildings during the day when grid electricity was most expensive (on peak).
Another common type of storage is used by water municipalities which pump water to high elevation reservoirs during the night. Then, during the day, the water is allowed to flow back downhill and gravity forces the water through turbines that drive generators to generate electricity. Today, the most common form of energy storage is based on some form of battery storage. Battery technology has advanced significantly in the last 10 years and the inefficiencies of charging DC batteries with AC power (which inverts back to AC electricity) have been greatly reduced. Energy storage using advanced battery technology is becoming a popular energy management solution in the commercial sector, especially when combined with Solar PV. The use of battery storage is usually designed around one of two strategies; demand shaving, or solar PV over production.
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