by Julian Spector
October 28, 2020

Developers have used batteries to save customers money for years, but the style and strategy continue to shift.

The use case goes by various names. There’s demand-charge management, which tackles the time-based charges that can make up half of a commercial property’s monthly power bill. Time-of-use arbitrage helps customers avoid more expensive hours, usually with the help of solar power. Sometimes the batteries operate as a traditional demand-response asset, generating value by dropping load at crucial times.

What unites the various business models for customer savings via battery storage is that they rarely stand on their own. The “Swiss Army knife of storage” framing foregrounds each major use of storage as a freestanding entity, but bill savings is one that typically relies on other applications to make deals happen.

“In every geography where grid services are possible today through commercially available means, our systems are participating in those alongside more typical bill management approaches,” said Phil Martin, vice president of energy storage at Enel X.

It’s also a use case that is still hitting its stride. Old strategies and players have fallen by the wayside, new ones are rising, and the future is still unwritten.