Key to underpinning renewables, battery energy storage systems (BESS) play a pivotal role in optimizing energy usage and addressing intermittent supply issues, making them a critical investment for utilities. The benefits of BESS are countless, from enhanced grid resiliency to peak shaving and infrastructure deferments. Still, it’s important utilities do their due diligence to determine what system, and BESS provider, meets their needs best.
Below are five questions that you should ask potential energy storage suppliers during the procurement process to ensure top safety, speed, resilience and security. To dive deeper into what you should consider related to each of these questions, download the Utility Dive playbook “5 Key Questions to Ask Your Energy Storage Provider,” produced in partnership with EVLO.
1. How safe is your system?
Safety is the most important factor when it comes to purchasing, installing, and utilizing BESS. Utilities must be able to count on BESS at all hours of the day, as an unexpected failure could result in costly, disruptive outages, and potentially significant consequences for communities. BESS providers can mitigate the potential for thermal runaway through intelligent fire-safe design and robust training protocols.
2. What are the technical advantages of your system?
One of the most sought-after BESS advantages is durability, as revenue-driving opportunities like price arbitrage can lead to battery degradation. Leveraging the peaks and troughs of electricity markets dramatically increases the profitability of BESS, but can be demanding on battery health, necessitating durable systems capable of withstanding significant stress.
3. How do you execute projects?
Hardware and software solutions need to be effectively synergized with safety and technical considerations during project execution. This is one of the reasons fully-integrated BESS solutions, like the EVLOFLEX, are superior to piecemeal approaches — they enable the seamless application of rigorous safety standards without additional cost or complexity. To minimize delays, it’s best that utilities and other stakeholders partner with BESS providers that have a proven track record of delivering projects on time and within budget.
4. What value-added services do you provide?
Whenever possible, utilities should align themselves with providers that offer long-term service agreements, particularly regarding parts sourcing and replacement. These partnerships provide a much-needed safety net, ensuring that essential components are readily available and that maintenance and repairs can be conducted promptly if needed.
5. What sets you apart from the competition?
While safety, technical advantages, project execution and value-added services offer a good indication of the quality of a BESS, finding a provider who can act as a trusted, long-term partner requires an evaluation of company values. Among the most important is transparency. Quality BESS providers will give upfront and transparent answers to the questions we’ve outlined here.
Transforming the grid to address climate change is a formidable challenge, but it can be successfully realized with the right partnerships and technologies.
Dive deeper into key questions to ask potential storage providers by downloading the Utility Dive playbook “5 Key Questions to Ask Your Energy Storage Provider,” produced in partnership with EVLO.
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