Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When Does Energy Storage Make Sense? It Depends.

An example electric usage profile with demand billing and TOU rates.  The high TOU rates are from 7 am to 8:30 pm.  Demand "peaks" at 1 pm.
February 25, 2018 by Lars Lisell

“It depends” is an engineer’s favorite response to just about every question.  But “it depends” is an appropriate response when evaluating whether installing an energy storage system is a good idea. Energy storage can be confusing. The technology adds value to electrical systems by charging when there is excess energy on the system, storing the power until it is required, then discharging when the energy system requires additional energy. Unlike traditional generators that turn fuel into electricity, an energy storage system is used to move energy around.  A few common applications for energy storage include moving energy use from a period of high consumption to a period of low consumption, storing renewable generation to be used at night, or storing grid power to be used during periods of grid outage.  For an energy storage system to make economic sense, the value of providing this service to a facility or the electrical system must exceed the cost of the energy storage system.  How can a consumer determine if an energy storage system makes sense for a facility?  The answer often lies in the utility bill.[1] 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The George Washington University Institute Solar Knowledge Library

The Solar Knowledge Library provides engaging and accessible videos about key solar energy topics, as well as links to more in-depth resources. The videos are aimed at educating professionals that are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Powerful Mix of Solar and Batteries Is Beating Natural Gas

Updated on
From Climate Changed
Natural gas is getting edged out of power markets across the U.S. by two energy sources that, together, are proving to be an unbeatable mix: solar and batteries.

In just the latest example, First Solar Inc. won a power contract to supply Arizona’s biggest utility when electricity demand on its system typically peaks, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The panel maker beat out bids from even power plants burning cheap gas by proposing to build a 65-megawatt solar farm that will, in turn, feed a 50-megawatt battery system.

It’s a powerful combination for meeting peak demand because of when the sun shines. Here’s how it’ll work: The panels will generate solar power when the sun’s out to charge the batteries. The utility will draw on those batteries as the sun starts to set and demand starts to rise.

For the rest of the story visit:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Through ‘Virtual Power Plant,’ 50,000 Aussie Households To Get Solar, Tesla Battery Systems


Posted by Betsy Lillian February 5, 2018


South Australia’s state government has announced a plan to build what it calls the world’s largest “virtual power plant,” a network of at least 50,000 residential solar and battery systems.

Beginning with a trial of 1,100 Housing Trust properties, the program will install – at no charge – a 5 kW solar system and 13.5 kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery.

For the rest of the story visit:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Life-Changing” Internship Leads to a Rewarding Career in Indian Energy

Photo of Dr. Tommy Jones and attendees at a workshop in Alaska 

DOE contractor Dr. Tommy Jones speaking with Councilwoman Faye Ewan at the January 2017 Alaska Regional Energy Workshop led by the DOE Office of Indian Energy and hosted by Gulkana Village in the Ahtna region of Alaska.
Photo from Karen Petersen, NREL

My name is Dr. Tommy Jones. I am from Jones, Oklahoma, and I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Naknek Village Council, and a Native shareholder of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. In 2014, I first applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy student internship located at Sandia National Laboratories. The transformative experience solidified my desire to work in this field and to contribute to the fast-growing industry of energy development in Indian Country.

During my time as an intern (see my previous blog), my colleague Dr. Len Necefer and I collaborated on a research paper titled Identifying Barriers and Pathways for Success for Renewable Energy Development on American Indian Lands. The goal of the research was to hear from tribal, federal, private, and academic experts who are specifically working in tribal energy. The work was meant to help identify the barriers of bringing the significant renewable energy potential that exists in Indian Country to market for the benefit of tribal communities. Hearing from those who not only work directly on energy issues but rely firsthand on the dependability of energy systems far exceeded my expectations. This type of internship, where students have the opportunity to engage directly with leaders in their field, is exceptional. We weren’t sitting in an office making assumptions about communities across the nation; we were visiting these communities and hearing their stories. The stories we heard about these communities’ struggles, and more importantly their perseverance to meet their energy needs and promote economic development, was life changing. No longer are you simply a student or a researcher. Now, you are involved in the process to help Native Americans meet their energy visions, which benefits those communities, enhances your personal growth, and contributes to the energy independence of the United States of America.

For the rest of the story visit:

Tesla’s big battery is undercutting Australia’s energy cartels

When Tesla installed the world's largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia last year, it came with the promise that it would revolutionize the way electricity is produced, stored and sold in a region known for blackouts and market monopolizing. Less than two months later, that promise has been delivered to the tune of a multimillion-dollar saving, as the Tesla big battery essentially noped an attempt by Australia's energy cartel to capitalize on power fluctuations and send the market into overdrive.

For the rest of the story visit :

Monday, February 5, 2018

EIA Quantifies ‘Many Different’ Grid Functions Of Batteries

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Driven largely by installations over the past three years, the electric power industry has installed about 700 MW of utility-scale batteries on the U.S. electric grid, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of October 2017, these batteries made up about 0.06% of U.S. utility-scale generating capacity. The agency notes another 22 MW of batteries were planned for the last two months of 2017, with 69 MW more planned for 2018.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Webinar: State of the U.S. Energy Storage Industry: 2017 Year in Review

Tuesday, February 13, 1-2pm ET
The U.S. energy storage market experienced substantial growth in 2017. In this webinar, guest speakers from GTM Research will share insights related to recent developments in the U.S. energy storage market, including deployment trends, policy updates, and market outlook.
  • Brett Simon: Analyst, Energy Storage, GTM Research
  • Dan Finn-Foley, Senior Analyst, Energy Storage, GTM Research
Moderator: Todd Olinsky-Paul, Project Director, Clean Energy States Alliance

This webinar is a presentation of the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP). ESTAP is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity and Sandia National Laboratories, and is managed by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). Learn more at

This is a free event, but registration is required.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Let it Snow: How Solar Panels Can Thrive in Winter Weather

At the Regional Test Center in Williston, Vermont, researchers are examining how framed (in the background) and frameless (in the foreground) solar photovoltaic modules handle snowy conditions. | Photo Courtesy: Sandia National Laboratories
At the Regional Test Center in Williston, Vermont, researchers are examining how framed (in the background) and frameless (in the foreground) solar photovoltaic modules handle snowy conditions. | Photo Courtesy: Sandia National Laboratories

If you live outside of the sunny Southwest, the weather can bring sudden changes this time of year. Many parts of the country have already seen snow, and the polar vortex has extended far enough south that even our nation’s capital has experienced a few deep chills. Although at first blush it may seem that solar power is ideal for the summer, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels actually produce useful power throughout all four seasons. Tackling weather-related challenges is one reason why the SunShot Initiative funds Regional Test Centers, where solar panel performance can be time-tested in widely varying climates. Researchers at the test centers have shown that solar can still successfully generate electricity in snowy areas and other harsh environments.

For the rest of the article visit:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Inside Renewable Energy Podcast - The Hows and Whys of Smart Inverters

Renewable Energy World has rebooted their monthly podcast, featuring a new December 28, 2017 episode on Smart Inverters. Listen to Bruce Bailey and Ken Boyce of UL on what the market for advanced inverters looks like today, why they can support the growth of a clean and resilient grid, and what their evolution will look like over time.

Check out this and other new episodes on, and subscribe to the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast on iTunes and other podcast platforms.