For commercial and industrial building and facility managers – whether or not they are managing one building or a portfolio –getting power from your utility isn’t as easy (or cheap) because it won’t to be. Previously – before today’s energy technology revolution – procuring energy was as simple as connecting a building to the electrical grid during construction, turning on the facility , then paying the local service a known, constant rate for energy usage. Today, building operators must think about variable electricity rates supported energy usage, peak demand usage, and time of usage, just to call a couple of challenges. The result's added complexity, and sometimes added costs, at each step of meeting a building’s energy needs.

‘Solar-plus-storage’, also as storage-only solutions (in situations where solar isn't practical or desirable) has emerged together of the few ways to reliably combat skyrocketing utility bills. solar energy systems help address the energy portion of the bill while storage systems help offset the demand portion by better managing the company’s high peaks in energy usage. While the business case for solar-plus-storage or storage-only often sells itself, a minimum of on paper, the particular economics of solar and energy storage often hinges on having the proper energy management software for system performance. In other words, actual savings and proposed savings got to be aligned during a real-world environment, not just on paper, which largely depends on the software a corporation chooses – which suggests tons is riding on this one IT decision.

To determine a reliable return on investment and sufficient business value for a solar-plus-storage system, building operators need to think about many fluid metrics: load requirements, storage power output and capacity, system cost, the value of capital, future peaks in electrical demand, solar production, federal and state level incentives, and therefore the ability to predict external factors like weather changes, among other factors. Any energy storage system must be ready to deliver value within the event of kit additions, or upgrades that alter the height load, high demand events, changing regulatory and repair costs.

Since energy storage is such a crucial IT decision with long-term business consequences, what should a CIO who is watching energy storage solution and management software know before presenting their findings to the board?

Understand how solar and storage can work consistently to decrease utility costs

With numerous variables to think about, energy management is beyond the control of any single stakeholder within the company – it requires machine learning and other advanced software capabilities to stay the system well managed. For commercial and industrial facilities, utility costs have two major components, energy usage and peak demand usage. Peak demand charges are often one among the fastest growing components of a utility bill for commercial and industrial customers. While rates will vary depending on industry and geography, demand rates can often represent the maximum amount as 30-70 percent of a company’s monthly utility bill.

"Besides having integrated software from the start, it's equally important to possess a system which will adapt on an on-going basis to changing energy usage patterns, changing utility rates, and even changing weather patterns"

Energy storage systems can't only store energy during times of low energy loads and release it during times of peak demand, but intelligent systems will go a step further and actively store the energy at the foremost economic times (which repeatedly are going to be when solar is being produced – at no cost) then deploy that energy when energy usage is at its highest. These systems make complex decisions in real-time to decrease the quantity of peak power being drawn from the grid, lower peak demand and optimize overall energy usage.

Solar energy systems on the opposite hand help offset the energy portion of utility costs. In some cases, installing solar on its own could also be economically viable if an outsized enough system are often deployed to profit from a positive utility rate. However, many buildings simply don't have enough rooftop space to support a system large enough to enrich or offset enough of a building’s energy needs or may face other challenges like building ownership issues or being during a low solar production area. Additionally, many utilities are moving faraway from rates that favor solar. In those situations, either a storage-only or a smaller solar installation paired with energy storage is often economically viable, as long as the system has the proper management software. With sophisticated machine learning analytics and system controls to manage the discharge of energy at optimal times, an energy storage system along side solar enables optimized utility bill savings for both peak and energy charges– the 2 add concert orchestrated by intelligent software.

Be sure that what you get on paper today will actually be delivered tomorrow

It is crucial when modeling the worth and size of an energy storage system that the modeling software, doing the analysis can “speak” with the energy management system and to deduce surprises in performance and be in sync from day one. This permits installers to confidently right size and model the financial performance of energy storage projects – not just the operational performance – to significantly lower project risks and costs, without inadvertently or intentionally over sizing the system to deal with demand peaks. Having the proper software from the start also will help prop up financing when it’s needed – because financiers are necessarily risk-conscious. The proper technology solution will remove the guesswork of stand-alone modeling software – or worse, messy spreadsheet calculations.

Finally, what to seem for when selecting a solar-plus-storage or storage-only system

Energy storage remains during a relative infancy stage and lots of energy storage solutions are attracting startups that either don’t understand the energy industry or lack the financial wherewithal for endurance. a number of these companies will eventually learn and grow with the market. But when implementing energy cost reduction measures, most building owners aren’t curious about gambling an enormous investment on companies that can’t demonstrate endurance here and now. Again, tons are riding on this one IT decision with long-term business consequences and CIOs need an energy partner they will trust.

Bottom line, having the proper software platform should be top-of-mind for the success of any energy storage solution, with or without integrating solar. Today’s energy technology conducts endlessly complex calculations and converts data into actions and insights designed to satisfy – and exceed – energy and financial targets. Machine learning and AI do the thinking so businesses can specialize in what they are doing best. the proper technology can reliably predict and answer energy demand, accurately model and estimate energy cost savings and adjust when needed to hit key energy and financial targets. Now, energy intelligent software providers like Pason Power bring the dairy, resources, expertise and next-gen technology that CIOs got to cut lavish utility costs, get control of their energy usage, and grow their company’s bottom line in an ever-changing energy landscape.