Battery storage takes solar to the next level

An increasing number of solar projects include battery storage, a trend that is paving the way for a cleaner energy future. Battery storage addresses one the leading challenges of many types of renewables—inconsistent production. A solar array generates power when the sun shines. Not having a way to store that power increases the need for non-renewable power. With battery storage, it’s possible to save energy for use when there’s no sun.

“Battery storage adds the consistency piece to solar,” says Greg Mazur, director of engineering at Blymyer Engineers. “We’re seeing more projects that include storage as part of the overall scope. Just a few years ago, about one solar project out of 20 included battery storage. Today, half of our solar projects include battery storage.”

A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that renewable energy will account for as much as 50% of global average electricity generation by 2050. Bloomberg New Energy Finance ties that growth to the fact that affordable battery storage is making renewable energy an even more appealing alternative to non-renewable energy. The report notes that battery costs have decreased 80% since 2010, and it predicts that battery prices could fall as low as $70/kWh by 2030.

Storage adds value to solar
Mira Loma Energy Storage, one of many recent Blymyer projects that incorporate battery storage, includes a 20 MW/80 MWh battery system, which is enough capacity to serve 15,000 homes for 4 hours. Renewable energy can be stored for use and as importantly will reduce demand charges and shift grid consumption to time when rates are lower, thanks to batteries. The same principle applies to smaller projects. For instance, a data center with a solar array could store energy for use at night, reducing the need to draw power from the grid.

“With battery storage, solar becomes a potentially 24/7 source of electricity,” says Mazur. “A solar project of just about any scale benefits from the inclusion of power storage because it helps enable more consistent power delivery while reducing the risk of wasting energy. Talk to us about how practical it is to include battery storage on your solar project.”