Demand for Solar PV has been steadily increasing on the back of increasing Eskom electricity prices. These solutions are typically rooftop crystalline photo voltaic cells that augment Eskom power, thus reducing daytime Eskom metered usage. These large installations mostly have no energy storage solution as battery storage significantly reduced the ROI of such systems (at least before time-of-use billing came into play). Also because the peak times, as defined by Eskom, sit outside of the best sunlight period (bearing in mind that winter is peak season for Eskom), there is limited ability for Solar PV without storage to be an effective peak load clipping solution.
Industrial users are thus left with the following choices:
– Adjust load by adjusting operations – this will make operational sense for very few companies due to shift times, HR issues and process requirements.
– Develop a process engineering solution for storing energy eg. Hot water heating tanks, ice plants etc. – However, this requires creative custom solutions that are typically CAPEX intensive and complex.
– Do nothing and absorb the expense. This is what most companies will do but they will be open to a better solution to recover their operating cost.
– Install batteries as a storage solution
– Install LiGE’s air storage system
With a ROI of approx 3.53 years on a 40kwh storage system.