By Roy L Hales
The next energy storage breakthrough will be in efficiency, rather than time. During high peak demand times, utilities charge commercial customers a premium (per kW) called “demand charges.” These charges often make up 40% of the total electricity bill and have, on occasion even been as much as 70%. Green Charge Networks developed a demand charge reduction system called GreenStationTM that uses sophisticated combination of energy storage and software algorithms to predict and counteract power peaks second-by-second. It can shave 15% or more off the average building’s energy bill. Now Tip Capital has partnered with Green Change Networks and set up a $10 million fund dedicated to financing GCN’s retail, municipal and industrial customers. Customers can receive GCN’s GreenStationTM battery-plus-power-management system, without upfront cost and pay it off through what they save on their utility bill savings.
“The next wave of innovation will come from power efficiency solutions, and Green Charge Networks is pioneering this Marketplace,” said Vic Shao, CEO of GCN.
This was made possible because of a $12 million stimulus grant and three years of research and development with the Department of Energy and leading utilities throughout the country.
“The biggest challenge to our grid isn’t the amount of energy consumed (kWh), it is the peak electricity use during a given time period (kW),” Shao explained.
“Think of it this way: the grid has to be capable of handling the maximum demand. If a factory never ran all year except for one day when it did a highly electricity intensive process, we would still have to build the grid to accommodate that level of use. Extrapolate this idea across America and you have an electric grid that is built for a small number of high-use moments.”
This is where companies like GCN come in.
GreenStationTM is currently being installed at more than 20 locations in New York and California.
One of GCN’s customers, a 7-Eleven in Flushing NY, was able to reduce their energy demand 56% during last summer’s heat wave.
An Avis rental facility saved $250,000 and a week’s downtime by installing GreenStationTM rather than doing a utility service upgrade. What’s more: the new system paid for itself from day one.
GreenStationTM maximizes the return on solar installations by keeping the customer’s peak demand usage under a threshold that will allow solar developers and integrators to install solar PV on the best possible tariff rate for the customer.
“With Green Charge Networks savings track record for their customers and pipeline of deals, TIP Capital is excited to be partnered with Green Charge Networks.” said Ross Reida, Vice President of National Accounts for TIP Capital.
“We spent a lot of time prior to 2013 refining our product, but now we are rapidly commercializing,” Shao said.
If smart grid technologies like GreenStationTM were implemented nationally, they may be able to save the energy equivalent of 4,000 coal plants per year.