SolarCity storage solution guards against increasing US power outages


Across the U.S., the country’s aging electricity grid is creaking at the seams. According to statistics from the Energy Information Administration, there have been 679 weather-related power outages across the States in the past nine years. Couple such rising insecurity with utility costs that have increased by more than 50% over the same period – even though electricity consumption is a mere 10% more today than it was in 2001 – and you have the perfect conditions for progressive change.

That change could soon come in the form of stored solar power, courtesy of U.S. company SolarCity. Their recently introducted DemandLogic smart energy storage system has been developed to tackle the two chief power-related issues for U.S. businesses – supply and cost.

Developed with advanced battery technology from Tesla, the DemandLogic system has learning software embedded within, which automates the distribution of its stored power supply at peak hours, resulting in a reduction in a business’s energy bill.

The system is available to new solar power customers, with no upfront costs required, and no disruptive or costly change in set up or operations. Customers can simply have the system installed via a 10-year service agreement, pay monthly, and enjoy immediate savings and power supply reliability.

"Utilities have altered their rate structures such that demand charges are rising faster than overall energy rates, and businesses are bearing the bulk of those increases," said SolarCity’s CTO and COO, Peter Rive. "Time is money, but so are control and predictability. Our storage systems can give businesses the tools to address all three – delivering immediate savings, protection against escalating demand charges, and optional, grid-independent backup power in case of outages."

Bespoke backup

The DemandLogic system works differently to load shifting approaches, requiring simple installation and is flexible enough to power IT functions, security systems, cash registers and all other critical, power-dependent systems that businesses need to function at all times, even during power outages. SolarCity provides a bespoke solution to each customer, analyzing each company’s energy demands and designing a storage system that will offset peak load and give backup power support to the organization’s most high-priority functions.

"We are thrilled to leverage Tesla’s technology leadership in energy storage systems, charging and power electronics to enable this exciting SolarCity launch," said JB Straubel, Tesla’s CTO and co-founder. "The economics and scale that Tesla has achieved in the automative market now make stationary energy storage more cost-effective and reliable than it has ever been in the past. We expect this market to grow very rapidly now that we have crossed this economic threshold."

Across the U.S., utility companies in most states have switched on to profitability, increasing their revenues at a far higher pace than electricity usage, and imposing "demand charges" on businesses that alters the rate they pay for electricity depending on the time of day. Peak demand power costs more, and is often unavoidable for businesses. Smart storage systems such as the SolarCity solution can help businesses better manage their power costs by regulating the amount of electricity used at various points throughout the day.