The 8 Things Often Missed with Energy Storage Projects

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Utilities, developers, independent power providers, municipalities, and large commercial & industrial customers face an onslaught of choices when planning energy storage projects. It really is an overwhelming and complicated array of variables. Popular human behavioral thinking suggests that too many choices derail your ability to make a choice at all–it’s called “overchoice.” It’s a real dilemma–look it up. That’s what you’re facing in this burgeoning industry.

Compounding their situation, these customers face a variety of significant risks. They face safety risks with an improperly designed system. They face operational risks from system underperformance or failure. They face financial risks from choosing the wrong technology to achieve project goals. And they face commitment risks, where the partner they choose might not be in the energy storage business for the life of their system.

It takes a long time to become an energy storage expert. Over the years, I have seen customers make similar mistakes in the early stages of their energy storage projects. The eight most common of these include:

  1. Choosing a packager or developer instead of an integrator to lead their project
  2. Thinking that the battery chemistry needs to be their first, and sometimes only, priority
  3. Improperly vetting a battery supplier
  4. Not preparing for, or in some cases understanding, the risks associated with energy storage projects
  5. Choosing project suppliers before understanding how the system will be used
  6. Picking a partner who knows just one or two parts of the whole system
  7. Choosing a supplier who doesn’t understand the system protection requirements, both on the ac side and the dc side  
  8. Choosing a supplier whose controls are not expandable later at no extra cost and who doesn’t track and incorporate quickly evolving market changes

You’re designing your system for a reason. Ideally, you want your system designed and in the ground quickly. You want the system commissioned with little to no issues. You want the system to do what it’s supposed to do for the length of time it’s supposed to do it. You want to receive all of the benefits from the system that you believed you would receive when you bought it. And then, most importantly, you want system that performs exactly as advertised—or better.

Before making your decision, shouldn’t you know some of the “unknowns” (that energy storage suppliers would prefer you not know) which quickly can turn a good day that achieves the expectations described above into a very bad day?

I’d be interested in having a discussion about your thoughts on what it takes to get an energy storage system up and running. If you’d like to have some additional dialogue, please leave me a comment below.

Expert

Chris Evanich

Publication Date

August 2, 2017