New scientific testing aimed at better assessing the performance and safety of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in today’s fast emerging market for advanced energy storage solutions reveals a wide range of variability. According to the results of tests conducted by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s Dr. Andreas Gutsch, “some lithium-ion cells integrated in storage systems lose up to 30 percent of their capacity after just 1,000 cycles,” PV Magazine reported March 9. “Others cells are well above that even after 5,000 cycles,” according to a March 9 PV Magazine report.

Dr. Gutsch’s latest test results highlight the uncertainty and risk that remains inherent in the performance and safety – as well as vendors’ choice – of Li-ion batteries. Outside of consumer electronics, intelligent energy storage solutions based on Li-ion batteries have only recently entered the commercial mainstream, as in the case of electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging stations. Even more recently – within the past five years – stationary intelligent energy storage systems based on Li-ion batteries have successfully been installed “behind the meter” at utility customer sites such as the 7-Eleven in Yonkers, New York.

Need for more and better consumer information, industry standards and transparency

            *Credit: PV Magazine, Solarpraxis

Driven by the need to upgrade and modernize power grid infrastructure and take steps to enhance the resiliency of power supplies to changing environmental, market and industry conditions, state governments and grid regulators in states such as California, New York, Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico have introduced incentives and mandates that call on utilities and their customers to deploy intelligent energy storage capacity.

Coupled with energy market reforms and advances in Li-ion battery-based energy storage and other battery storage technologies, state incentives and mandates are fueling development and growth of “behind the meter” intelligent energy storage installations on the part of commercial and industrial companies, schools, hospitals and government offices.

Dr. Gutsch’s latest research highlights the need for anyone considering installation of smart energy storage solutions based on Li-ion batteries to thoroughly evaluate and compare batteries and overall solutions from vendors on an apples-to-apples basis and over their entire expected life cycles.

For those considering deploying an intelligent energy storage solution based on Li-ion batteries, technology developers and systems vendors such as Green Charge Networks can take the guesswork and nearly all the risks out of the equation.

Taking the uncertainty and risk of Li-ion batteries out of the equation

When it comes to Li-ion batteries, we at Green Charge Networks are vendor-agnostic. Furthermore, we have entered into strategic supply agreements with some of the world’s leading Li-ion battery manufacturers in order to assure our GreenStation intelligent energy storage systems are equipped with safe, high-performance Li-ion battery packs.

Another way Green Charge mitigates our customers’ Li-ion battery storage risks is through our Power Efficiency Agreements (PEAs). A form of pay-for-performance contract, the Green Charge Networks’ PEA requires zero money down and zero in the way of installation, operations and maintenance charges on the part of our customers. The resulting returns generated by shaving peak demand and seen in monthly electricity bill savings are shared between our company and our customers.

The costs of Li-ion battery storage are dropping rapidly, while performance and safety continue to improve. Information on utility demand charges and rate structures are often opaque and obscured. The requisite data and information needed to fully evaluate Li-ion battery performance and safety in specific customer use cases isn’t always readily available, and faulty or low-quality Li-ion batteries will make their way on to customer sites.

The advantages, benefits and returns associated with deploying intelligent energy storage solutions “behind the meter” on customer sites is becoming increasingly evident and clear. Intelligent energy storage solution vendors such as ourselves are taking proactive steps and measures to assure that the performance and safety of Li-ion batteries used in intelligent energy storage systems not only meets, but exceeds, all government and industry standards, as well as customer expectations.