Troy Tyler, Sun Light & Power’s Chief Operating Officer, is featured this month on the website Utilities Tech Outlook, with an article entitled ‘New Tech is Changing How Customers and Utilities Select Energy Systems.’
Utilities Tech Outlook is a platform that informs about the latest trends, challenges and technology solutions in the utilities space. It follows a learn-from-peer approach where decision-makers provide their opinions and reviews about innovative technologies.
Troy shared insight gained from recent conversations with the industry’s leaders in renewable energy storage, helping to identify the best options for commercial solar consumers.
Here’s an excerpt from the article.
Energy storage systems (ESS) currently impact the power grid market by lowering the cost for utilities and businesses to deliver reliable energy to customers. However, new ESS technologies are emerging that could deliver those savings while addressing ongoing environmental issues with the conventional lithium-ion (Li) based storage architectures. While some say Li-based energy storage has already won, utility and business leaders sensitive to long term costs of ownership need to consider more sustainable ESS technologies.
Global supply chain constraints and rare earth mineral supply vulnerabilities challenge even the largest suppliers of Li-based storage technologies. Moreover, end of life toxicity is a growing concern for both businesses and utilities who do not want to carry the liability of disposing end of life Li ESS on their books. Finally, as severe climate change events become more frequent, Li-based storage presents new risks for utilities and businesses. What liabilities exist when Li storage assets are subjected to a category 5 hurricane, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake or a raging forest fire?
Fortunately, new energy storage technologies provide alternatives to Li-based storage. Among these, three in particular show promise: zinc air, sodium-ion and scalable gravity-based storage. All three are considerably less toxic, do not require rare earth minerals, and in many ways are safer than Li-based storage, albeit with some crucial differences.
Zinc-air offers another alternative to Li ESS. This new technology deploys solar power to separate zinc oxide into zinc and oxygen, whereby the zinc stores power until it is recombined with oxygen to generate electricity. This rechargeable system stores deep discharge capable power for a few days and can replicate the process thousands of times. The system can be built for about $100 kWh and is ideal for remote areas where microgrid power is needed. NantEnergy, a pioneer of this technology, offers a low risk modular turn-key package for business or utilities that includes financing, monitoring and control, and an industry-leading performance guarantee. Typically, NantEnergy combines Li with zinc-air in a hybrid ESS design to maximize short, medium, and long -term power needs more efficiently and at lower cost than Li alone. Such hybrid systems eliminate the need for a fossil-fuel generator backup system.