There are some markets where energy storage
does make economic sense,
according to Skumanich who
said the military is always
willing to look at new technologies that could save the lives
of soldiers in the feld who
have to carry fuel.
“The military is defnitely
interested in mobile electric
capability and they don’t want
to be hauling diesel around.
They don’t mind paying extra
for batteries,” he said.
In addition, in places
where the grid is unreliable
or non-existent, batteries are
well-suited to solve problems
of electricity supply.
Mio Dart, Systems Integrator Engineer with Redfow,
an Australian company that
manufactures a zinc-bromide
fow battery, said that she
sees a lot of promise for battery manufacturers to make
money in markets where the
grid is unstable.
“A lot of cities in the developing world only get power 6
or 8 hours a day and you have
to deal with not having grid
power the rest of the time and
that’s just part of everyday
life,” she explained.
“There is a way [for battery
manufacturers and vendors]
to make money simply by
promising 24/7 or even near
24/7 power,” she added.
From Redfow’s perspective, these markets are the “
low-hanging fruit” said Dart. She said in these cases, people use
the Redfow battery to charge when there is grid power and discharge where there isn’t. Simple.
Dart said Redfow also does business in the Caribbean, which
relies on diesel for a lot of its power generation. She said that
companies in island nations might spend upwards of US $10,000
a year on, for example, one telecommunications site. Dart said
that they could buy a storage system that will suit the site for
much less than that.
“Now you won’t be completely eradicating the diesel but you’ll
be greatly reducing it, maybe 50 to 80 percent,” she said adding
that payback periods can be as low as 2. 5 years and that Redfow’s battery is designed to last 7 to 10 years.
Dart said that outside of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and
Africa also hold promise as markets for energy storage.
In the developed world where the grid is robust, Dart agrees
with Skumanich that people who are purchasing energy storage
solutions today are the early adopters who may not be driven by
economics. Dart described these folks as people who want the
newest technology in their homes, who bought electric vehicles 5
years ago and went solar 10 years ago.
“They are people who have a really green/environmental attitude and they really want to be maximizing their solar. They
A standing-room-only audience attended the NAATBatt workshop,
“Making Money with Storage” that was held during ESS North
America. Credit: Solar Promotion International GmbH.