Energy Storage Market Requires an Understanding of How to Analyze Valuable Battery Data

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Energy Storage

About one year ago, I described in a blog item three minimum requirements investors in energy storage systems should demand from their system integrator: bankability, deep utility experience, and a long-term strategy. Each of these, I wrote, factor in to the experience and perspective necessary to address customers’ energy storage and power system needs.

I’d like to add a fourth requirement that is equally important: ongoing battery-system maintenance.

We’ve learned a lot through our deepening relationships with customers, including Stephen Richardson, an electrical engineer at Ergon in Australia. Through such relationships, we have developed an understanding that, as end users, the flexibility energy storage systems provide is good. However, there is also a need to know how to manage battery units through their entire life. Not every customer has the experience Ergon has in working with and analyzing battery data, and a lot of customers are looking to their system integrators for help in understanding the data their battery systems produce, determine which data to analyze, and provide the tools to manage that data.

Manufacturers and suppliers of energy storage systems can provide all of the information and whatever data are available. But how the information is presented also is important. It would be easy to open up all of the data available for batteries, but that would just create information overload, making the data essentially useless minus the proper refinements.

A good supplier of energy storage systems is able to help customers decipher which data are important and which are not, what is parsed in and what is parsed out. Some customers now have fleets of these systems, and they’re asking important questions: How do we manage them on an ongoing basis? We have several million dollars of assets deployed, and how do we ensure that we don’t damage that investment? It’s those tools that we as energy storage system providers can offer them that can help them manage and understand their systems before larger issues can develop.

Ergon is very fortunate in that it has that experience of using and analyzing its battery data and making it meaningful. Others aren’t so fortunate. A viable supplier will describe to customers suggestions for how to use and parse the voluminous information, what data they should and shouldn’t capture, and how they should present it. That supplier would also describe the benefit that data-collection and data-analysis strategy would provide, and which, in turn, would give customers a good kick-start to better understand and manage their valuable energy storage assets.

Expert

Chris Evanich

Publication Date

March 21, 2016