Understand the Pros and Cons of Software and Communications Decisions

At times, it is optimal to have connected devices in place. At other times, it creates another point of failure. As is true in every industry today, solar installations are becoming smarter and more connected by leveraging the power of real-time data, remote controls and responsiveness to improve project and product performance. Project owners and financing partners cheer software platforms that enable sophisticated communications. Without question, software and communications can play an important role in many storage projects. First and foremost,...
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Design a Battery Bank to Grow with Your Customers

Whether residential or commercial, energy needs and usage inevitably evolve over time — most often with power loads and required energy increasing as operations or families grow. With that reality in mind, the ability to deliver energy storage solutions that can scale and expand in sync with an end customer’s needs is an important installation selling point. Understanding scalability Battery size and modularity can make a big difference when it comes to project scalability, optimization and ease of installation, but not every...
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Demand Charge Management Tips for the Commercial, Industrial Segment

Storage solutions must be customized to align with the specific power or energy demands of a commercial or industrial customer. It’s no secret that commercial energy users in every industry are seeking to reduce energy costs today and achieve long-term cost predictability for the future as utilities implement increasingly unfavorable rate structures. Energy storage provides a powerful, multifaceted solution to lock in rates and achieve power security. Savings opportunities Energy storage can provide a significant ROI when it comes to utility bill...
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Temperature Considerations in Battery Selection

As is true with solar projects, the range of environments in which energy storage is being applied has grown and diversified significantly. This diversification in deployments means a deeper understanding of the temperature-related performance and safety issues tied to battery selection and storage system design. For solar installers, understanding which battery chemistries and energy storage solutions offer the most environmental flexibility in terms of project suitability is an important advantage in the ability to successfully deploy more storage in more...
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AC vs. DC Coupling: Which is Best for Your Application and Why?

AC or DC coupling refers to the way in which solar panels are coupled with and interact with a battery system. A hotly debated topic among solar installers today is whether AC or DC coupling is the best approach for solar+storage installations and retrofits. The truth is there really is no right or wrong answer. Both approaches have their merits, and the optimal approach depends entirely upon the application. What is AC coupling? AC coupled systems require two inverters: a common...
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Here’s a Crash Course in Battery System Sizing

Get your calculator ready. Depth of discharge As discussed a few days ago on the Fourth Day of Storage, depth of discharge plays an important role when sizing batteries because battery banks must be calculated according to the actual amount of usable energy storage. Check your battery’s warranty for the most accurate statement of its depth of discharge. For example: 80% DoD = 3.5 kWh x .8 = 2.8 kWh 90% DoD = 3.5 kWh x .9 = 3.1 kWh 100% DoD = 3.5...
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The Value Proposition of Energy Storage Without Solar

It’s no surprise that within the solar community energy storage is most often discussed in the context of solar+storage. But what about the potential for energy storage where there is no PV system? Whether you’re talking about residential or C&I applications, the truth is that batteries can help optimize any power generation source including solar, wind, grid power, or fuel-based generators by storing reserves and lowering energy costs, creating energy security for home and business owners. Solar installers know that in...
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Solar + Storage Inverter Selection: Inverter Stacking vs. High Voltage Inverters

Scaling an energy storage system requires stacking both energy (batteries) and power (inverters). Batteries that were designed to be modular can typically be stacked without limitation. However, inverter stacking presents more challenges. The question installers must answer is at what point does it make sense to jump from a multi-inverter stack of 48V inverters to a higher voltage inverter option. Regardless of the energy storage demand, the power requirement of a project’s load profile is the most important factor when...
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Know Your Battery Specs: Nameplate Capacity (10 kWh) vs. Usable Capacity (7 kWh)

A common misconception is that lead acid batteries cost less than lithium-iron phosphate batteries. However, what most fail to consider is that you have to buy many more lead acid batteries — sometimes double, triple or quadruple as many — just to reach the same usable capacity as you would achieve with far fewer lithium-based batteries. How many of these will you need to size a job properly for its lifetime? The misconception is largely due to battery manufacturers touting their...
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Battery Performance: 7 Things in Your Battery Warranty’s Fine Print

Beyond merely setting guidelines for battery repair and replacement, battery Warranties can serve as a valuable buyer’s guide for your next energy storage project. As the old adage advises, “it’s all in the fine print!” Indoor vs. Outdoor Installation Location: If the Warranty specifies coverage limitations related to the temperature in which the batteries are installed, you know that you’re limited to an indoor installation location, which may present challenges in terms of available space in a home or garage....
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