Solar-plus-storage outperforms diesel in US military survival analysis


From pv magazine USA

Analysis by NREL shows that solar energy systems, when paired with 14-day long duration energy storage (LDES), can outperform military-grade emergency diesel generators (EDGs) in both survivability and financial viability for military applications.

Historical statistics comparing the failure rates of EDGs to solar plus LDES technologies demonstrate that, over a 14-day standard military uptime evaluation, solar plus LDES’ survivability probability exceeds 95%, while the diesel generators’ survivability hovers around 80%.

The study also suggests that a more strategically sized solar-plus-storage system could achieve nearly perfect reliability, with uptime approaching 100% over a two-week period. NREL differentiates between the 95%+ ‘Intermediate’ battery energy storage system (BESS), which is currently available for field testing and provides a 38% round-trip efficiency, while the 100% ‘Goal’ BESS, still in the conceptual phase, is expected to provide a 48% round-trip efficiency and cut the energy storage system costs in half. However, since the ‘Goal’ BESS is currently under development, future costs may deviate from these projections.

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The analysis also found that the Intermediate solar-plus-storage projects had a positive net present value, meaning that they paid for themselves over the long term. The same could not be said for the EDGs. The theoretical Goal BESS sized projects with 100% uptime over the 14-day window were projected to have a net present value positive over their lifetimes.

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